Tag Archives: Bill Gates and In Bloom

Democracy versus the Corporate Oligarchs

In a republic and/or democracy where eligible adults vote, the majority of voters decides who wins seats in Congress, and when elected—representing the people—Congress votes on bills/laws; the majority wins.

This is how it works in Congress. This is even how it works in the Electoral College during presidential elections—the presidential candidate who wins the majority of votes in the Electoral College becomes president. It doesn’t matter who wins the popular vote.

For instance, when President G. W. Bush was 1st elected, everyone didn’t vote for him. In the 2000 presidential election Bush had 271 electoral votes to Al Gore’s 266; more than 51 million Americans voted for Gore but their candidate lost and those voters had to live with President Bush for four years—the man they didn’t vote for.

Then in 2004, Bush won the White House a second time with 286 electoral votes to John Kerry’s 251; more than 59 million Americans voted for Kerry; they didn’t get the president they wanted.

That’s the way a democracy works, but that’s not what’s happening in the United States today when it comes to public school reform.

Teachers Union Exposed, an anti-teacher website, thinks it’s wrong that the two teacher unions should pay for lobbyists to represent the majority of their union members in Washington D.C.  Their reason: a minority of teachers don’t agree with political activity of the two unions.

Teachers Union Exposed claims “Unions don’t reflect members’ politics. … Over the last 20 years, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) has given more than $28 million in campaign contributions; the National Education Association (NEA) has given almost $31 million.”

Teachers Union Exposed (I wonder who is behind this Website) points out that looking at polling data from the 2003 National Education Study, only 51 percent of teachers who are also union members identify as Democrats. The rest identify as Republicans (25 percent) or Independents (24 percent)” … and the “Harris Interactive poll from 2003 showed that 83 percent of Republican teacher union members felt that the union was more liberal than they were.”

How many Republican teachers are there? The NEA has 3.2 million members and the AFT 1.5 million. Do the math and that means 970 thousand (20.6%) of the 4.7 million teachers felt the union was more liberal than they were.

Big deal! How many Americans felt that President G. W. Bush was more conservative than they were? The same question could be asked about President Obama: how many Americans feel that he isn’t as conservative as they are?

It’s an established fact that in a democracy elected leaders can’t please everyone. But what happens when someone who isn’t elected spends money to influence the government and elections?

I’m talking about corporate oligarchs. Throughout history, oligarchies have been tyrannical (relying on public obedience and/or oppression to exist) or relatively benign, and corporations are run by CEOs who are not democratically elected.

For instance, Diane Ravitch posted Researchers Reveal Funding Network for Washington Charter Law and exposed the undue influence of oligarchs in an election. Ravitch says, “a small number of very wealthy individuals and organizations bought a policy of their choosing. This subverts democracy. It subverts the principle of one man, one vote. These are not reformers. They are plutocrats who use their vast wealth to buy what they want.”

The Ravitch post is long but worth reading. To keep it short, the plutocrats Ravitch writes about spent more than $35 million on one campaign in Washington State to support a YES vote on proposition 1240 in 2012—legislation that would benefit private sector charter schools paid for by taxpayers. Voters in Washington state had defeated similar propositions three times in the past, but the oligarchs refused to give up.

For a comparison, the leaders of the democratically run teacher unions spent $59 million over twenty years representing the majority of their members—who elected them to run the unions—in Washington D.C. That breaks down to $2.95 million annually, but the oligarchs spent more than $35 million for one proposition in one state.

Therefore, why is it okay for these alleged tyrants to spend fortunes to influence and manipulate voters but if the democratically elected labor unions that represents millions of teachers do it with a lot less money, it’s wrong?

In fact, one of the oligarchs, Bill Gates, has spent about $200 million to turn public schools over to corporations—private sector schools the taxpayers support.

That means one day the13,600 public school districts in the United States with more than 90,000 school teaching over 50 million children run by democratically elected school boards might vanish and America’s children would be turned over to billionaire oligarchs who run/own corporations. To discover how much Gates and his billionaire oligarch partners stand to gain from privatization of the public schools, click Big data and schools: Education nirvana or privacy nightmare?

In her post Ravitch listed about 20 oligarchs who donated money directly—or through nonprofit foundations the oligarchs financially support—to insure proposition 1240 passed and it did by a slim margin of 50.69% to 49.31%.

Who do you really think represents the interests of most Americans and their children: 4.7 million teachers—willing to die to protect children—who elect their union leaders, or 20 (alleged tyrants) billionaire oligarchs—protected by private security?

Discover more on this topic @ New Yorkers Denounce Cuomo’s Stacked panel to “Review” Common Core


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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