Study: US is an oligarchy, not a democracy

The US is dominated by a rich and powerful elite.

So concludes a recent study by Princeton University Prof Martin Gilens and Northwestern University Prof Benjamin I Page.

This is not news, you say.

Perhaps, but the two professors have conducted exhaustive research to try to present data-driven support for this conclusion. Here’s how they explain it:

Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence.

In English: the wealthy few move policy, while the average American has little power.

BBC

Unemployment Rate at 14.7% Highest Since Great Depression. Stocks Increase

Today it was reported that the unemployment rate has hit 14.7%, the highest since the Great Depression.

As of this writing (about noon), the Dow Jones Industrials has risen almost 400 points.

The oligarchs live in a different world from the rest of us and profit from our misfortune.

Connections Matter: 37-Year Old with NO Trial Experience Appointed Judge

He was rated “Not Qualified” by the American Bar Association.

In March, after Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh took time off from his Supreme Court duties to swear in Justin Walker to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky in Louisville, the newly minted judge recognized how he had gotten there at the age of 37, with zero trial experience but a pedigree in conservatism.

His mother had supported a rising Republican star named Mitch McConnell when her son was just 8, Judge Walker recalled: “I’ve got to hand it to you, Mom. It has been extremely important to me that Kentucky’s senior senator is Mitch McConnell.”

NY Times

U.S. companies cut thousands of workers while continuing to reward shareholders during pandemic

Five companies paid a combined $700 million to shareholders while cutting jobs, closing plants.

While thousands of their workers are filing for unemployment benefits, these companies rewarded their shareholders with more than $700 million in cash dividends. They are not alone. As the pandemic squeezes big companies, executives are making decisions about who will bear the brunt of the sacrifices, and in at least some cases, workers have been the first to lose, even as shareholders continue to collect.

WaPo

ALEC Leading Right-Wing Campaign to Reopen the Economy Despite COVID-19

Documents obtained by the Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) show that a powerful corporate lobby front group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), is playing a leading role in the right-wing movement to push for early reopening of the economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic that has cost the United States 61,680 lives to date.

ALEC is a corporate pay-to-play operation where legislators and corporate lobbyists vote behind closed doors to adopt model legislation on a broad range of public policy issues.

Common Dreams

Related:

ALECexposed.org

3 big Trump donors are among business leaders influencing coronavirus response

Why rely on experts when you’ve got rich donors?

  • Trump has sought and received advice on tackling the coronavirus crisis in private conversations with several of his allies in the business world, according to people familiar with the matter.
  • There are at least four executives Trump and his team have been in regular contact with, according to the people, who declined to be named due to the private nature of the conversations.
  • They include Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman, Oracle Executive Chairman Larry Ellison, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan and John Catsimatidis,

CNBC