Saturday, July 23, 2011

Make way for plutocracy!

The king of Very Serious Persons(VSP),Tom Friedman, is fed up with the political gridlock. He has embraced a third party movement called Americans Elect:

"Here is how it will work, explains Elliot Ackerman, an Iraq war veteran with a Silver Star, who serves as the chief operating officer of Americans Elect, and whose father, Peter, a successful investor, has been a prime engine behind the group. First, anyone interested in becoming a delegate goes to the Americans Elect Web site and registers. As part of that process, you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire about your political priorities: education, foreign policy, the economy, etc. This enables Americans Elect to put you in contact with others who share your views so you can discuss them and organize together. Then you will be invited to draft a candidate or support one who has already been drafted and to contribute to the list of questions that anyone running on the Americans Elect platform will have to answer on the site".

Sounds great, right? A third party empowered by the internet and driven by citizen choice. What's not to like? How about the fact that Peter Ackerman(see the bold text above) ,a "prime engine" for this new movement, once sat on the board at CATO Institute and was "a project advisor to the Cato Institute’s “Project on Social Security Choice,” an effort to privatize Social Security and turn management of Social Security funds over to Wall Street investment firm managers"(source). Gee, I wonder if any of those Americans Elect web site questions will be biased towards privatization of Social Security? I smell astroturf.

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

OK, so let's get Soros to back it and then we can call it legitimate and worthy of Mike's support.

Laura said...

I'm a socialist. They will connect me with others who share my views. Where do I sign up?

Letsgetitdone said...

George Soros will never join forces with them. They're a staking horse for Bloomberg and the corporates, who are not satisfied with the games being played by the major parties.

Letsgetitdone said...

Laura, They won't connect you with other socialists. Their platform is very centrist.

Letsgetitdone said...

Thanks for covering this Kevin. It needs exposue.

Letsgetitdone said...

Kevin, btw, your astroturf sense is very accurate. They will emphasize the usual non-partisan crap attacking left and right, saying they're common sense and then pushing the US further down the road to plutocracy.

Tom Hickey said...

Check out Prof. Wm Domhoff's "Who Rules America?" site here. He teaches sociology at UC Santa Cruz, and he has written numerous books and article on the subject.

Who rules America? The top 0.1%

Crake said...

A sidenote on a major assumption of this: Theoretically , it is impossible for the US to form more than two viable political parties.

Since pretty much all elected positions in the US are elected through winner-take-all districts, the US cannot have more than two viable parties that overlap each other on most issues (just vary in degrees) and then define themselves via wedge issues which tend to be issues lending to polar "for "or "against" views with little to no room between and issues that tend to gather in two types (i.e our current conservative vs liberal.) . In other words, there is no place a third party can define itself, so it can gather enough votes in winner-takes-all elections. Now, you might have a faction of one of the two parties splinter off but one or two things will likely result from that in the near term. That faction will either go away as its support wanes, or if it keeps growing it past a viable size, it will become the end transformation of the party from which it came.

To get any viable sustainable third party, the US election system would have to evolved into a proportional representation type system or again, there is no room for a third party to actual hold a meaningful number of offices.

Tom Hickey said...

True but a third party if it is large enough can hole the balance of votes. Moreover, the rules of the Senate give individual senators a lot of obstructive power. Of course, those rule could and probably would be changed but only if a party or coalition could muster the necessary votes. There have been third parties in the US, e.g., the Progressive Party. So I would not rule it out. There could be a split in the GOP if the TP doesn't get its way, for instance, or the TP could replace the GOP from within.

Mike Norman said...

Anon:

You're boring. Get a life.

-Mike Norman

Peter said...

Tom Friedman is married into a billion dollar family, he always roots for the ultra rich and more or less subtly tells the stiffs to swallow it and work harder for less.

Tom Hickey said...

Right, that's what passes for punditry. It's self-serving BS.

And it if not even self-serving for those at the top. When the system goes down, it swamps all boats.

Peter said...

Tom, apologies, I want to change the topic, could you respond to me over there:

http://heteconomist.com/?p=756&cpage=1#comment-15188

Anonymous said...

You might want to know the following:
Founder of Americans Elect used tax shelter scheme

The businessman behind an ambitious effort to field an alternative, nonpartisan presidential candidate has paid millions of dollars in delinquent taxes and penalties for his part in an alleged tax shelter scheme, records and interviews show.

Originally slapped with a $150 million tax bill by the IRS, investor Peter Ackerman resolved his tax disputes in June in an undisclosed settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. Ackerman is the founding chairman and president of Americans Elect, the fledgling political group he has seeded with at least $1.55 million.


http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/founder-americans-elect-used-tax-shelter-scheme-11790