Ninety-five Theses Against the Democratic and Republican Duopoly
by Shawn C. Gay, Ph.D.
Founder, Earth Advocacy News
EA News note: A pdf version of this publication is available here. Please share the URL or pdf version of this post if you find it useful and informative.
November 1, 2016
In the spirit of Martin Luther, this list of theses has been compiled as evidence against the continued domination of the United States of America (USA) by the duopoly consisting of the Democratic and Republican parties. These ninety-five theses point to a failure of the two major political parties to respond to the needs and desires of the American people.
1. The political system is dominated by a duopoly consisting of the Democratic and Republican parties, violating the democratic ideals of the people of the United States of America.
2. The duopoly rule is artificial and is neither called for in The Constitution nor by any natural law of society.
3. Maintains power by engaging in “managed democracy” whereby political activities outside of the two-party system are severely restricted through media censorship, unfair election laws, and unnatural equivalence of corporate entities to citizens regarding free political speech.
4. Is unduly influenced by huge monetary contributions to political campaigns and Super PAC’s, primarily originating from large international corporations and extremely wealthy individuals.
5. Fails to respond to the broader needs of the American public, instead implementing policies that benefit large international corporations, the wealthiest 1%, and the military-industrial complex.
6. Severely limits the range of political discourse and artificially shrinks the marketplace of ideas. This is harmful to the progress of society and the healthy functioning of a democratic system of government.
7. Uses undemocratic practices to influence election outcomes, both in primary and general elections.
8. Has failed to enact reforms of the campaign finance system.
9. Has failed to enact reforms of the revolving door that allows public officials to rotate in and out of lucrative positions in the private sector, leading to extreme conflicts of interest.
10. Has hijacked political discourse by promoting single-issue voter stances and continually driving the American people to “lesser evil” voting, which is essentially a form of blackmail.
11. Continually utilizes undemocratic acts such as gerrymandering to rig election outcomes, eroding the diversity of the House of Representatives.
12. Created its own organization for controlling the nationally televised presidential debates. This “Commission on Presidential Debates” sets ridiculously high barriers for third-party participants leading to an effective blackout of alternative political parties in these crucial public debates.
13. Has put liberty in a box when it comes to free speech and the press. Protestors are told where they are “free” to exercise their First Amendment rights. Journalists have been arrested when covering protests such as at the Dakota Access Pipeline.
14. Has fostered a healthcare system where Americans pay the most money in the world for care on a per-capita basis but ranks extremely low in the developed world for quality of care.
15. Has produced the worst healthcare system in terms of value (quality compared to cost) in the world.
16. Has produced a healthcare system that ranks 56th among world nations for infant mortality and 45th among nations for maternal mortality.
17. Has produced a healthcare system where the number of annual prescriptions for seniors exploded from 19.6 per person in 1992 to 28.5 in 2000. Projections at that time predicted the average number would grow to 41.5 by 2013.
18. Has produced a society whose health is under attack from extreme pollution, poor food markets heavy in processed and unhealthy options, and systemically poor life/work balance.
19. Has been slow at every turn to choose policies that favor the health of citizens over the greed of corporations.
20. Produced the Affordable Care Act (ACA) aka Obamacare (derived from the Massachusetts state version called Romneycare) that forces citizens to pay premiums to private, for-profit, insurance companies at risk of excessive fines. This is essentially extortion to line the pockets of insurance company stockholders since every single human needs healthcare.
21. Reduced the level of mental healthcare to below critical levels, preferring in many cases to let mentally-ill persons fester on the streets or in for-profit prisons rather than render appropriate care.
22. Has resulted in the rise in obesity in the American population to epidemic levels along with associated conditions of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
23. Has refused to treat substance abuse issues as health issues, instead choosing to wage war on individuals with addiction issues, feeding the sick into the for-profit prison system.
24. Has cultivated a military force that is currently bombing not one, not two, but seven nations around the world in 2016.
25. Has produced a budget for the nation where over half of discretionary expenditures are marked for military and defense. The 2017 proposed budget includes $623 billion for military spending, which is 54% of the discretionary funds.
26. Has produced a nation that has been at war 100% of the time since September 11, 2001 and 93% of the years (222 out of 239) since the birth of the nation.
27. Has continually fallen short on promises to care for the veterans of foreign wars, even to the point of denying vital health care and demanding re-enlistment bonuses to be repaid years after service.
28. Has turned the American experiment in democracy into a worldwide empire that terrorizes other nations with illegal use of lethal force, including drone weapons and targeted assassinations.
29. Wants to spend over $1,000,000,000,000 (one trillion dollars) upgrading the USA nuclear arsenal. This is enough money to wipe clean student debt for an entire generation.
30. Continues to distribute weapons around the world, including to countries that support terrorism and to countries that engage in large-scale human rights violations.
31. Has made little-to-no progress in pursuing worldwide nuclear disarmament, forcing ever more future generations to deal with the specter of nuclear Armageddon.
32. Has encouraged an industry of personal firearms that has made the USA the most armed citizenry in history. This deluge of weapons flooding all our cities and neighborhoods presents a huge exposure to risk of deadly accidents and criminal assaults.
33. Has permitted a pervasive distribution of firearms that amounts to a huge stress on the nation’s police force and is a real factor behind the escalation of otherwise routine law enforcement engagements to situations where lethal force is used.
34. Has turned the USA into a primary world polluter, contributing to massive extinctions and climate change that threatens world security and survival of the human species.
35. Has failed to enact global treaties which could help avert the worst effects of human-induced climate change.
36. Has failed in large measure to even discuss the options on the table for addressing global climate change.
37. Contains a disconcerting number of politicians who reject the scientific consensus that climate change is real and is now an emergency demanding worldwide cooperation.
38. Continues to subsidize the fossil-fuel industry instead of directing our national resources to clean energy technologies and infrastructure.
39. Has proven inadequate, even negligent, in addressing the risks of environmental pollution to human life and to the natural ecosystems upon which we are dependent.
40. Has severely underfunded cleanup operations of thousands of contamination sites in USA territory.
41. Has failed to develop long term sustainability in regards to management of the amazing natural resources in the USA.
42. Has not brought private industry to a point of responsibility for the full impact of their operations, allowing short term profits to be collected at the expense of long term environmental health.
43. Fails to regulate corporations and marketplaces, leading to monopolies and other capitalist abuses that operate against the best interests of the American people.
44. Has resulted in extreme inequality of wealth that continues to grow rapidly. In 2011, the top 400 Americans had more wealth than half of the rest of Americans combined.
45. Allows the accumulation of wealth into the top handful of individuals, which is in no way sustainable for a consumer-based economy. The system will crash unless this trend is reversed.
46. Has allowed banks and financial institutions to become “too big to fail”, creating an excessive risk that one or a handful of failures can destroy the entire economic system.
47. Has largely ignored the economic struggles of the poorest Americans.
48. Has failed to make the federal minimum wage track the inflation rate. It has not even been raised since 2009.
49. Has failed to make social security track the inflation rate. This year, the cost of living increase was 0.3%, hardly enough for a cup of coffee for many people relying on this as their primary source of income.
50. Has created an unbalanced tax system where the wealthiest individuals often pay significantly smaller percentages of their income in taxes than the middle class.
51. Has fixed the income tax rate for investment income at 15%, meaning the wealthy with most of their income derived from investments avoid the higher marginal tax rates of regular wages.
52. Has set the social security wage base to low levels compared to the income of the wealthiest Americans. This means poor Americans pay a much greater percentage of their paychecks to the FICA tax than the wealthiest people who control most of the nation’s resources will pay.
53. Has regularly implemented tax cuts for the wealthy which have directly resulted in large federal budget deficits. Ironically, these large deficits are often used to argue for “austerity” measures to reduce social services to the poorest Americans.
54. Seems intent on pursuing ever more trade agreements that (a) favor corporate rights over American sovereignty, (b) favor corporate profits over environmental and worker protections and (c) sell out American workers’ jobs to factories in foreign nations where comparatively lower wage workers often toil in unsafe, slave-like conditions.
55. Has overseen a general decline in USA public education at all levels for several decades.
56. Has produced an education system that in 2012 spent more per student than any other country in the world, yet only ranked 27th in the world for educational achievement.
57. Has failed to solve the problem of exploding costs in higher education. In 1950-1970, the cost of tuition at a public university was about 4% of family income. In 2010, it was 11%, nearly tripling in relative cost over 40 years.
58. Has neglected to provide free higher education to its population, a measure that other developed nations such as Germany have opted for.
59. Has created a finance system for higher education that burdens students with excessive debt just as they are starting a career after graduation, often taking decades to fully pay off. Meanwhile, banks are recording record profits from student loan interest.
60. Has emphasized standardized tests in public schools and regimented lesson plans as the framework for teacher-student relationships. The living, vital dynamic of intellectual discovery and creativity in the classroom has seen no such emphasis.
61. Has instituted severe metrics and funding conditions that encourages educators to “teach to the test” instead of stimulating students’ interests and curiosity.
On World Community
62. Promotes an American imperial agenda that is inherently undemocratic to the foreign peoples that come under its influence.
63. Engages in asymmetrical foreign policy, leveraging its “superpower” status to enact unfair trade practices and military occupations. While short term benefits may materialize, longer term impacts are to exhaust goodwill and even breed hatred of the American people among foreign nations.
64. Operates by a double standard when it comes to human rights. While levying sometimes very strict penalties toward other countries accused of human rights abuses, the USA continues to incur incidents of environmental racism, indigenous rights violations, archaic death penalty sentences, privacy violations, whistleblower prosecutions, and illegal detention and treatment of political prisoners and immigrants.
65. Has failed to provide consumers with fair market conditions by allowing monopolies and oligopolies in many sectors, including utilities, cable TV, entertainment, air travel, pharmaceuticals, mainstream media, computers, cell phone providers, commodity markets, and automobile industries.
66. Has weakened consumers’ ability to sue for damages on many fronts, including securities fraud and medical malpractice.
67. Has not championed consumers’ rights to know what is in the products they purchase. Case-in-point is the lack of federal requirements for disclosing genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients in food products.
68. Has allowed almost all diversities in consumer markets to coalesce, resulting in restricted freedom of choice in most aspects of modern life: banking, utilities, transportation, food, etc.
69. Has fostered a justice system that has two standards: one for average citizens and one for the very wealthy.
70. Has fostered a justice system that continues a systematic racial bias against people of color.
71. Has fostered a justice system where blue collar crimes are prosecuted to the fullest extent, but white collar crimes often go unprosecuted or plea bargained down to a slap on the wrist.
72. Has adopted a two-faced approach to whistleblower protections, on the one hand in private industry advocating that whistleblowers are essential to point out secret wrongs committed, but on the other hand in public institutions levying harsh, disproportionate attacks on those who air the dirty laundry of the government.
73. Has guided American culture toward a society of insular single family households, resulting in neighborhoods lacking community identity, cooperation and civic pride.
74. Has fostered intense political division so that discourse and debate can hardly occur in a civil manner.
75. Has coopted large swaths of some Christian factions to achieve political leverage in maintaining power. Too often, false moral outrage has been employed for political gain.
76. Has not created an equal playing field for women in the workplace. A woman’s right to equal pay needs to be assured.
77. Has not created sufficient opportunity for people of color to rise economically.
78. Has resulted in elected and appointed government agencies that do not demographically reflect the population it governs.
79. Has systematically underfunded infrastructure development and improvements. Projections from ASCE estimate that by 2025 the economy will lose almost $4 trillion in gross domestic product due to infrastructure neglect.
80. Has made no significant inroads to help the poor and impoverished have true freedom from want. A society that does not help all its citizens meet their basic needs is not a free society.
81. Has not supported the development of art, literature and the humanities. Since the mid-1990s, the funding for the National Endowment of the Arts has suffered a cut in funding of nearly 10%. In 2015, the NEA budget was 0.02% the size of military budget.
82. Has turned national scientific laboratories, formerly bastions of free thought and inquiry, into servants of industry.
83. Largely has no interest in scientific principles. In many cases, appeals to pseudoscience or anti-intellectual arguments justify actions that are not in the best interest of the American people.
84. Drastically underfunds scientific research in the fiscal budget, slowing the pace of technology development and discovery. In 2017, the proposed federal budget includes only 3% of discretionary spending ($30 billion) to science.
85. Has created a nationwide surveillance state.
86. Has been waging war on Americans’ privacy for several decades through legislation such as The Patriot Act.
87. Created surveillance agencies, such as the NSA, capable of collecting personal information on almost every “plugged in” person in the world.
88. Does not compensate citizens fairly for the use of their private information. It offers no recompense when personal information they collect and store is compromised.
89. Continually increases the requirements for personal identification. The Real ID Act of 2005 has essentially laid the foundation for a national identification network.
90. Has encumbered the liberty of travel with more documentation requirements than ever.
91. Continually diminishes the Fourth Amendment prohibition against illegal search when it allows stop-and-frisk laws.
92. Has gone to great lengths to keep information about its dealings affecting the American people a secret.
93. Has created massive troves of classified materials and “FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY” materials in the government bureaucracy that even Freedom of Information Act requests may not successfully reveal the contents of in a timely manner.
94. Negotiates international trade agreements behind closed doors.
95. Has created secret courts to rule on secret requests about surveillance of citizens.Republish