Democracy and Society


Democracy watch

" A majority of the people want national health care, but the lobbyists for the insurance and medical industries have stymied it. A majority of the people want campaign finance reform, but the tobacco companies have crushed it. A majority of the people want a livable wage, but the Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers undermine efforts to raise the minimum wage to a decent level... A majority of the people are willing to spend more money for education and the environment, but most of our legislators balk at allocating tax dollars for anything other than the Pentagon, prison construction, and corporate welfare."

Mathew Rothschild, editor of the Progressive magazine

Society watch

" Many of us regard ourselves as mildly liberal or centrist politically, voice fairly pleasant sentiments about our poor children, contribute money to send poor kids to summer camp, feel benevolent. We're not nazis; we're nice people. We read sophisticated books. We go to church. We go to synagogue. Meanwhile, we put other people's children into an economic and environmental death zone. We make it hard for them to get out. We strip the place bare of amenities. And we sit back and say to ourselves, "Well, I hope that they don't kill each other off. But if they do, it's not my fault."

Jonathan Kozol, educator and author

Ruling Elites page

" The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy. "

Alex Carey, author

Political Pathocracy page

"Some of the character traits exhibited by serial killers or criminals may be observed in many within the political arena... [They] share the traits of psychopaths who are not sensitive to altruistic appeals, such as sympathy for their victims or remorse or guilt over their crimes. They possess the personality traits of lying, narcissism, selfishness, and vanity. These are the people to whom we have entrusted our fate. Is it any wonder that America is failing at home and world-wide?"

Jim Kouri

Demanding Democracy page

"We were not born critical of existing society. There was a moment in our lives (or a month, or a year) when certain facts appeared before us, startled us, and then caused us to question beliefs that were strongly fixed in our consciousness-embedded there by years of family prejudices, orthodox schooling, imbibing of newspapers, radio, and television."

Howard Zinn

Assassinations page

"During times of universal deceit, telling the truth is revolutionary."

George Orwell


Labor page

"Any president engaged in lying and empire-building must have some of the traits of a psychopath ... To murder innocent people in order to aggrandize the American Empire would be extremely difficult if not impossible for someone who feels empathy, remorse and guilt and who is incapable of lying. It might even be suggested that having at least some psychopathic traits is a qualification for the job."

David Model, "Lying for Empire"

Re-ordering America's Priorities

" Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority."

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Reforming the Electoral Process

" The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."

John Kenneth Galbraith, economist and author

Dissent page

" You can say anything you want in a debate, and 80 million people hear it. If reporters then document that a candidate spoke untruthfully, so what ? Maybe 200 people read it, or 2000 or 20,000. "

George Bush's press secretary to reporters following the 1980 vice-presidential debate

Patriotism page

"Patriotism itself - love of one's country and one's people - is a natural and reasonable human feeling. But patriotism which measures one's country by military superiority over all rivals regardless of consequence is irrational... There is surely a more rational form of patriotism that searches for excellence in social, economic and moral spheres rather than in weapon systems."

Thomas Bodenheimer and Robert Gould, Rollback

National Security page

" The most unpardonable sin in society is independence of thought."

Emma Goldman, American anarchist and feminist, 1869-1940

Civil Liberties watch

"This focus on money and power may do wonders in the marketplace, but it creates a tremendous crisis in our society. People who have spent all day learning how to sell themselves and to manipulate others are in no position to form lasting friendships or intimate relationships... Many Americans hunger for a different kind of society -- one based on principles of caring, ethical and spiritual sensitivity, and communal solidarity. Their need for meaning is just as intense as their need for economic security."

Michael Lerner, journalist

Nationalism page

"The loud little handful will shout for war. The pulpit will warily and cautiously protest at first.... The great mass of the nation will rub its sleepy eyes, and will try to make out why there should be a war, and they will say earnestly and indignantly: "It is unjust and dishonorable and there is no need for war."

Then the few will shout even louder.... Before long you will see a curious thing: anti-war speakers will be stoned from the platform, and free speech will be strangled by hordes of furious men who still agree with the speakers but dare not admit it...

Next, the statesmen will invent cheap lies...and each man will be glad of these lies and will study them because they soothe his conscience; and thus he will bye and bye convince himself that the war is just and he will thank God for a better sleep he enjoys by his self-deception."

Mark Twain -- observing how wars that are at first seen as unnecessary by the mass of the people become converted into "just" wars

American Fundamentalism page

"War is not about flag-waving and patriotism. War is about killing and death."

Christopher Hedges, NY Times corrspondent

Politics watch

" [The] social forces that have been near the center of power ever since 1945 are so well entrenched in the national security bureaucracy as to be constants in the political setting within which foreign policy takes shape... [as a result] the formal procedures of political democracy (political parties, elections) give virtually no voice to principled criticism of interventionary deplomacy in the Third World. "

Richard Falk, professor

Political Crimes and Criminals

" Democracy is based on the principle of one person, one vote. The market functions on the principle of one dollar, one vote. Consequently, under conditions of unequal economic power, a society ruled by the market is a society ruled by those who have the most money -- the antithesis of democracy. "

David Korten, economist and internationalist

Think Tank watch

"Why should we worry about the death squads? They're bumping off the commies, our enemies. I'd give them more power. Hell, I'd give them some cartridges if I could, and everyone else would too...Why should we criticize them? The death squad - I'm for it."

Former president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Guatemala, September 1980

Militarization of America

" The power of money in elections, the increased concentration and conservative bias of the media, the resurgent strength and aggressiveness of capital and finance in a globalizing economy, and the weakening of labor, provide the structural background .. for the abandonment of the rudiments of social deocracy [in America].

Edward S. Herman, economist, author, and US media and foreign policy critic

Military-Industrial Complex

"The greatest menace to freedom is an inert people."

Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

Fascism watch

" The United States is way ahead of the rest of the industrial world in imprisoning its own population. That's for population control. None of that has anything to do with crime. "

Noam Chomsky, American linguist and US media and foreign policy critic

Police State watch

" Which shall rule - wealth or man? Which shall lead - money or intellect? Who shall fill our public stations - educated and patriotic free men, or the fuedal serfs of corporate wealth ? "

Edward Ryan, chief justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court, 1873

Socialism watch

" We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing"-oriented society to a "person"-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable to being conquered. "

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Education watch

"There can be no liberty for a community which lacks the mean by which to detect lies."

Walter Lippmann

Economics watch

" We are potentially the most dangerous agency in the country. "

FBI Director Louis Freeh, to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, 1997

Banks watch

"All wars are economic in their origin."

Bernard Baruch

Federal Reserve page

"You can't believe a word the American media says. If they say anything correct, it's just an accident."

Paul Craig Roberts

Wall Street page


"The national interest in a capitalist society is little more than the interest of its upper class."

Lawrence H. Shoup and William Minter

Neoliberal Economics page

"The twentieth century has been characterized by three developments of great political importance: the growth of democracy, the growth of corporate power, and the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy."

Alex Carey

Neoconservatives page

"Our leaders are cruel because only those willing to be inordinately cruel and remorseless can hold positions of leadership in the foreign policy establishment. People capable of expressing a full human measure of compassion and empathy toward faraway powerless strangers do not become president of the United States, or vice president, or secretary of state, or national security adviser or secretary of the treasury. Nor do they want to."

William Blum

History watch

" The United States is supposed to be in favor of human rights and democracy, so that a show of concern by our leaders is required to demonstrate our high moral character. This display of concern is not necessary if there is little public interest in or knowledge about the abusing country and its victims. Whether the public is informed on these matters is, of course, affected by what government, business, and the media choose to publicize, and these conjointly tend to play down abuses by regimes that serve U. S. business and strategic interests."

Edward S. Herman, economist and media analyst

Environment watch

" We enjoy the economic stability that the Armed Forces guarantee us. This [economic] plan can be fulfilled dispite its lack of popular support. It has sufficient political support ... that provided buy the Armed Forces."

Martinez de Hoz, top financial minister of the U.S.-supported Argentine military government, 1976, on the government's proposed economic plan

Health watch

"History is fables agreed upon."

Francois Voltaire, French philosopher and author, 1694-1778

Energy watch

"An economic system can remain viable only so long as society has mechanisms to counter abuses of either state or market power and the erosion of the natural, social, and moral capital that such abuses commonly exacerbate."

David Korten, economist and internationalist

Food watch

" The economy is doing fine, but the people aren't."

General Emelio Medici, head-of-state of Brazil's U.S.-supported military dictatorship, 1971

Water page

" What shall we think of a government to which all the truly brave and just men [and women] in the land are enemies, standing between it and those whom it oppresses?..."

Henry David Thoreau

Religion page

"From 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow more than 40 foreign governments, and to crush more than 30 populist-nationalist movements fighting against intolerable regimes. In the process, the US bombed some 25 countries, caused the end of life for several million people, and condemned many millions more to a life of agony and despair."

William Blum

Women watch

" The women of the United States are nothing but brood sows, having sons to be put into the army and made into fertilizer. "

Kate Richards O"Hare, 1915, feminist

Youth & Children watch

" We are a nation that worships the frontier tradition, and our heroes are those who champion justice through violent retaliation against injustice. It is not simple to adopt a credo that moral force has as much strength and virtue as the capacity to return a physical blow; or that to refrain from hitting back requires more will and bravery than the automatic reflexes of defense. "

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Class War watch

" People with advantages are loath to believe that they just happen to be people with advantages. "

C. Wright Mills - The Power Elite

"Thirdworldization" of America

"The world is governed by very different personages from what is imagined by those who are not behind the scenes."

Benjamin Disraeli, Prime Minister of England during Queen Victoria's reign

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