A new book, With Liberty and Justice for Some, argues that the system is stacked in favor of the elite, regardless of which political party runs Washington.
With only five percent of the world's population, the United States nevertheless holds nearly one-quarter of all prisoners in the entire world. And yet, nearly no one ever goes to prison in America for violating the United States Constitution or crimes against the American people. That includes everything from illegal wiretapping of thousands of U.S. citizens, to the financial meltdown that engulfed our nation just over three years ago. In fact, our financial agencies are controlled by executives of Goldman Sachs and a few other major banking firms, regardless of which party controls Washington.
I've been blogging this past year about how Egypt will remain under the same military rule, regardless of whether the brave demonstrators in Cairo succeeded in getting Mubarak removed as the President (though I had hoped otherwise). Russia will continue to be run by the same security apparatus and moneyed classes as before, but this past month's popular protests will force them to scale back some of their control and possibly change one or both faces at the top. Whatever it takes...
In the United States, a previous generation mounted full-scale protests against military adventurism in Vietnam and racism at home, and truly changed the face of our land. New laws were enacted, freedoms were expanded, and public welfare enhanced for millions.
But do we have effective and functional democracy today?