Do we have a democracy in the US, or a plutocracy? Or somewhere in between? Or something completely different? How much does money really influence American politics?

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I never tried to restrict it - I simply stated that people who make such complaints that "America really is not a democracy" and attack America consistently (although their right) tend to never have experienced true terror and oppression; their anti-Americanism is naive when America has done much more good than wrong in the world, and has helped many nations liberate themselves and assists nations and regions when natural disasters and famines strike.
I just love your argument.  Since people have it worse we should try to improve the US.  You do know what happens to people who think like that, right?  They deserve President Bachmann or Perry.
Sassan, you sound like those people on Fox news who go on and on about how great Amrica is, someone who would have read Callista Gingrich's new children's book "Sweet Land of Liberty" and believed every word. You seem to be living in a fantasy land where nobody can say anything bad about the country you love because of how great it was for you. I'll take your answer to my original question as "Democracy" and leave it at that.
I find it funny how he is calling out the rest of us for being "anti-American" for questioning the government but, it's okay for him to rail against the culture like it is somehow separate from the government.

I am happy to be in US. At the same time it would be pure ignorance or naivete to get encomiastic about American foreign policy. And at home we have national disgrace in treatment of native americans, slaves, Japanese americans during 2nd world war, racist restrictive immigration laws etc.

 

Any nation has dark moments in history, but you judge a nation by how much it has progressed. Sadly, the Iran of 2500+ years ago was an Iran much superior than today in all regards including human rights and the rights of people. Iran in turn, since 1979' especially, has de-evolutionized due to the illegal regime occupying it - in contrast, 40-years ago or so we had segregation, now we have a black President. Going to the "Native Americans, slaves" argument is quite fallacious. It is irrelevant to modern times. Our immigration laws are far from restrictive - in fact, they are not strict enough. Why is it that those who are in our country illegally receive such benefits such as welfare, reduced cost in tuition, etc? We treat our immigrants better than the vast majority of nations in the world - and this is ILLEGAL immigrants, not LEGAL immigrants in which we should offer opportunities and hope. In fact, ILLEGAL immigrants often times receive better benefits than those who are in this country legally. It is quite sad in fact...

I am late to class but I will respond to the other points raised in this thread later on today/tonight. Thanks. :)

Oh BTW, I think that assisting in the liberation of what is three nations now over the past 10-years is an honorable act and I look forward to this being extended to Syria and Iran in the very near future..

BTW, I like your choice of words. I learned a new word, "encomiastic" :)
I'm liking Stephen Fry more and more... on slave labour in USA prisons:

Those are those in prisons. In fact, is quite ignorant to compare it to slavery.
People forced to provide labour for no pay... that is a perfectly standard definition of slavery.
They volunteer. It is not forced.
Just one example: In 1994, the state of Oregon, by overwhelming majority passed a constitutional amendment that requires 100% of all state held inmates to work for pay during their incarceration. The Prison Enhancement Program has been on the move to increase prison labour. Prison labour is only paid in theory... in fact the "salary" is kept by the prison admin to cover whatever costs they see necessary. The "pay" part of the laws is not there to pay prisoners, but to ensure that true salaries in society aren't being undercut. And according to a majority of searches I've done up til now... prisoners to not have a choice in accepting work.

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