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Forum Post: Crucial: We must acknowledge the distinction between fundamental prolems and symptomatic problems.

Posted 12 years ago on Oct. 11, 2011, 7:27 p.m. EST by Fredone (234)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

If I could only say one thing to help this movement, after extensive discussion with others, and research, it is this: (okay the forum won't let me post it in one piece, so see the comments for the part two, use your browser's search function, as if you could adequately address this issue in such arbitrary length limits)

Primary problems are equivalent to ballot box stuffing. We are very careful to try to prevent ballot box stuffing per se, but the 1% acquire excessive influence before and after the ballot. This is about the very process we use of public debate and collaborative thinking and decision making, to produce and enforce -or repeal and eliminate, as you prefer- legislation and so forth.

It perhaps starts with excessive influence on information and debate in the public sphere. The influence the 1% have over the media (since they own and control it) is the equivalent of a few people in your GAs having their own personal PA systems cranked to max volume. Except worse. The wealthy literally speak about a million times louder than any other individuals - in terms of the number of people who hear their messages. When people get home at night and turn on the TV it is the 1%'s voices coming out of the set, every time. Even MSNBC and so forth are heavily biased.

Plus, these few people have a team of wage slaves behind them coming up with research, and speech writers coming up with particularly appealing rhetorical points etc., in other words they have far more resources to throw into the debate than their position as a single human being warrants. Unsurprisingly they have an excessive influence on what people believe, how the conversation is going, and the ideas circulating around.

Then campaign financing, and ensuring that only people who are already financially secure actually do run for office, and control of the media to silence other candidates they do not support. That exerts a lot - disproportionate anyway compared to what they should have - of control over who even gets on the ballots.

Then after elections there is lobbying. bribery legal and illegal, etc, and maybe things we do not even see. And there are other ways that they attach strings to politicians and other people in government to get them to dance to their tune, and also drive people who do not dance for them out of the government or prevent them from entering. Even after legislation occurs they continue to bias things, they can gut funding for branches of the government they do not like for instance, as they have done with the SEC, which is now operating on a relative shoestring.

They can also pay lawyers vast amounts to fight or promote things which affect the government itself, in court, more than we can, such as they did in the citizen united case. They can also just ignore the laws and use lawyers or bribery, or biassed judges (which they previously arranged to have present on the bench in large numbers) to do what they want. There are other such problems which I am omitting for brevity.

Notice that changing the tax code for instance WILL NOT AFFECT any of these fundamental problems.

I'm not using them to explain that things are broken, we all know that already simply because we can plainly see even highly desirable changes are not implemented or even discussed when the 1% objects to them. The proof is in the pudding.

Symptomatic problems are things like the unfairness of the tax code. The criminal unfairness of what's going on with executive compensation even after they drive the economy into the ground. I don't mean to minimize these, but changing such things will have a very tiny affect on any other issue, if any.

Then there are problems which are abuses that result from economic inequality such as lack of health care and decent and secure (over the long term in case you lose your job etc) housing and access to nutritious food. I hesitate to make a second, tertiary category for these things but maybe you could justify doing so. There are also issues like the 1%'s excessive influence on the police, which partly suppresses this type of backup-system democracy we are engaging in, I'm not sure which category that should go in. And OF COURSE these all interact. You might say it is chicken and egg in many cases, like the influence that propaganda has is making it hard for us to implement changes to the ability for the 1% to propagandize.



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[-] 1 points by Fredone (234) 12 years ago

I noticed others are starting to draw the distinction between fundamental and symptomatic too now. Coming back to review what I wrote here, I would like to add that the propaganda problem has been solidified to me as one of the most fundamental problems.

To solve it ideally we would obtain a system of content collection and generation and dissemnation system as good as what the 1% have. But as something we can do easily now, we should just all make it a point to :

  1. create a text file on your desktop and copy and past the best stuff you read/watch in there.

  2. Send it to your friends when it is particularly important.

Or even just do 2. This is like the human microphone thing: a simple, free behavioral pattern which if enough people do will help to solve a very real practical problem right away.

You can just as easily imagine the people in zucotti park never having adopted the mic check thing,, and therefore not reaped it's benefits in the early stages, if there were not just a handful of people there that gave them the idea. But they did. They used it and it helped to buoy things along quite nicely. Let's try to invent something similar in the digital realm!

[-] 1 points by misunderstood101 (68) from Los Angeles, CA 12 years ago

its a social problem of a stages.. if something goes good somebody will find a way to disagree with it.we are enslaved to the dollar like its a god. we created this epidemic of mass proportions.corporate greed/worker greed...the more i need is not need but greed...maybe its true ''the love of money is the root of all evil''' So chop down the money tree and pull out the roots.

[-] 1 points by RobDinsmore (4) from Sunnyvale, CA 12 years ago

I agree. Fix elections first, then secondary influence. Then we will have a government that works for us.

No more private money in any public election - no money from individuals, unions, corporations.

No uneven coverage in the press. - All coverage by the media must have equal time for all sides.

We then need a clear outline for how much public money will be available, where it comes from and how much each candidate is given.

Limiting private funding would also limit lobbyist influence since they cannot donate for the favors they want.

[-] 1 points by bhogue (7) 12 years ago

I think you are right. I think because I am not sure what you have said. It's too complicated and it's too long. You can tell us in pretty simple words and you need to speak to the masses, the people who only understand that they can no longer afford the gas it takes to get to their minimum wage job. The people who have been without work for months because their jobs were outsourced to another country. The people who cannot afford to live in a house of any kind because they could no longer make payments on the overpriced home they bought. The people who have been told that all you have to do is just work and you too can be rich. Those of us whose children have the poorest educations in history. The people who have already come through the school systems and cannot read or write. Those people who would like to go to college but do not have the money to do so. Those of us who have lost our retirements to WALL STREET GREED and have had to sell everything to stay afloat. Those of us who are trying to sell everything but no one has any money to buy. Speak to us.

[-] 1 points by Fredone (234) 12 years ago

No, I think the idea that our problems are caused by the stupidity of the voters may well be a piece of propaganda. What a convenient way to account for the disparity between what the government succeeds in doing and what people say they want?

Sorry if I didn't explain myself as clearly as you'd like but hopefully some people dig it and will see fit to incorporate this little bit into their overall interpretation of the situation we are facing and share it with others at the GA around America etc. so it will be my small part in adding my info that way.

[-] 1 points by bhogue (7) 12 years ago

If you are saying that the voters know the issues and we are not stupid then I, for sure, agree with you and I do dig every thing you said and I appreciate your ideas. I see it in way more simple terms. That's the only difference. This economic situation in our country has hit us personally, very hard and we saw it coming and were unable, as voters, to do anything about it even though we understood very well the situation. As our friend Molly Ivans said years ago, we will solve all the problems in this country if we take money out of politics.

[-] 1 points by Fredone (234) 12 years ago

Yeah but that sort of explanation doesn't really help tell you where to get started solving stuff.

[-] 1 points by atki4564 (1259) from Lake Placid, FL 12 years ago

All true, and although I'm all in favor of taking down today's ineffective and inefficient Top 10% Management Group of Business & Government, there's only one way to do it – by fighting bankers as bankers ourselves. Consequently, I have posted a 1-page Summary of the Strategic Legal Policies, Organizational Operating Structures, and Tactical Investment Procedures necessary to do this at:




if you want to support a Presidential Candidate at AmericansElect.org in support of the above bank-focused platform.

[-] 1 points by Fredone (234) 12 years ago

part two, part 2 :

The serious, overwhelming economic insecurity, many of us people who even bust our asses working full time (like me) are forced into, are part of the cause of us having a hard time engaging in the type of direct democracy we are which is needed to fix these problems.

But some influence the rest more than others. These are the primary issues.

However it's like moving a piece of furniture by "walking" it. Push it back some here, then more over there, repeat, and so we can move the whole system more towards a democracy and away from a plutocracy (rule by the wealthy). We will get far more bang for our buck by going for the primary issues, and the change will last. These affect everything else deeply.

And if we settle for secondary changes, our work will promptly be undone by the 1% using the corrupt decision making process the second we leave.

Notice how when a politician speaks to us, or when organizations like Ben and Jerrie's speak, who have conflicts of interest, they try to skirt around the primary issues, and distract us with secondary issues. This is precisely because they know that when the primary issues are fixed, as the will of the people increases in influence, ALL the other changes will inevitably follow soon. This is what they really fear. Not just one or two, but all of them, and over time many that we currently don't even have on our radar will, through truly open and effective public debate that is by and for us all, be revealed and agreed to by real Americans.

The political divisions will begin to fade as we discuss things in a reasonably clear atmosphere and come to new ideas and visions that are better than either of us had before, that reflect ALL our values rather than being faced with either/or choices, that are truly beneficial for us, as we are starting to see happen in the GAs. Then we agree to and will deftly implement them, no buts, no bullshit. That's democracy.

In my opinion (at present) the most important things we need are:

  • Serious transparency. There is no set of rules that is perfect, and we need to be able to see clearly how our sets of rules are working out. This greatly relaxes the difficulty of making good rules, and relaxes the need to be able to predict extremely well what our rules will do. Over time we will necessarily end up with a better system if it is truly transparent.

  • A bunch of competing Media organizations set up and run democratically and separately from the government to counter the propaganda outlets with equal viewership, airtime, column inches etc.

  • Electoral reform to ensure that real people from the 99% will be the ones on the ballots and advertising on the airwaves. Right now the 1%ers in congress - who, remember have tons of family and cronies that are also in the 1% - are overrepresented by over 50 times:

U.S. senators had a median net worth of approximately $1.7 million in 2006, the most recent year for which their financial data is available. Members of Congress, who are now paid about $169,000 annually, saw their net worth [what a bullshit expression! Net assets owned is more accurate] soar 84 percent from 2004 to 2006, on average. [1] Many of them have way more income from the large businesses they own, etc. too. If that article refers to "elected representatives" as members of congress, they had an average net wealth of 8..2 million or so! You can find tons more info on this with a quick google.

Among executive branch officials, CRP says the richest is Securities and Exchange Commission Chairwoman Mary L. Schapiro, with a net worth estimated at $26 million.

This applies to more local politics too.