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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Damn, just wrote a long response to Sassan that went the way of the dodo. I wont write another That is the way I am.

Dogly,

You made a good point about animals.

On the other hand that issue is on a higher ethical plane. First humans have to eliminate religiously borne discrimination against humans in the form of sexism, racism etc.

I thought we were talking about the creation of a more logic based, ethical society.  What, other than characteristic human selfishness, makes the mild religious discrimination I face, more urgent than the tortured lives and deaths that all other animals under our "dominion" face.  If it's just us, us, us, what will really be much different in our brave new world?

Also, why must solving other ethical issues always wait until "we get ours"?

I hope you don't find it "unethical" to run animals through scientific experiments which help benefit humanity.
I wouldn't, weren't Homo sapiens in such surplus... But considering our outrageous outnumbering of all other large mammals, I see no valid justification in using them to create more of us. If there wer only a million of us and billions of them... yes
I see - you don't want science and humanity to advance. How enlightening.
Really, if you insist on not even addressing what I say... I'll return the favour. A technocracy is no more palatable to me than a theocracy or a plutocracy.

"all other animals"? I don't think your adorable dog and my beloved cats are suffering any torture, and when my cats have reached the end of their enjoyable lives, and there is no relief for their suffering, I have put them down as compassionately as possible. I AM in favor of compassionate farming of animals, but cannot be consistent if I oppose experimentation on animals as long as they are given compassionate treatment. If I did, I and millions of others wouldn't be alive today. Yes, I'm talking about insulin.

The compassionate answer to world overpopulation is prevention of excessive births, not abandoning efforts to ease the suffering of those already here. (Really over-used the word "compassionate!!!!)

Natalie,  we pride ourselves on our rationality.  You are aware that animals used food food and research are NOT treated compassionately.  So, how can you approve of these exploitive businesses (and pet breeding), as though they were compassionate?  I agree with you about human overpopulation, completely.  That is why, before having any children, I was sterilized at the age of 24.  Have you any children? All births (after 7 billion!) are excessive!  Like lots of people, I fight for justice for people, AND to stop the exploitation of all other animals for all human uses.  They don't belong to us, any more than we, as women, belong to men, or blacks belong to whites.  

This discussion got way off topic.  My bad.  I'm sorry.   My dream of justice for all will no more come true, than our lovely fantasy of an atheist nation/state of Vermont.  Let's get back to Plutocracy or Democracy.

You know, in all sincerity... with all the neuroses that I see exhibited, from gnawing, chewing, barking, cowering, freaking, biting, spinning, peeing everywhere... I'm going to guess that about half of dog owners ARE torturing their pets... in the sense that keeping an animal in captivity with neurotic consequences is torture. Yep, about half of doggie owners should not exist. People's pets are very much subjected to a theocracy/plutocracy.

Dogly,

You may face only mild discrimination. Although you may want to wait/see if the teabaggers get in. But our problems as a civilization in this sphere of religiously based discrimination and oppression are a little awful.

And I am in no way minimizing the importance of the issue. It just seems logical to me that the people issues are paramount.

Glen, I am an "atheist activist".  I don't wiat/see if the teabaggers get in.  I'm extremely proud to be a member of Atheists of Florida. I have travelled with our members to speak out at several county's public meetings of school boards and county commission meetings where prayers are recited by baptist ministers, and where plans to post the ten commandments have been protested.   EllenBeth Wachs is our VP.  Google her name and atheist.  She was jailed for a week in solitary, tormented, and deprived of her necessary Rx meds - her crime??? -being an atheist in Polk County, FL.  I didn't mean to make light of the discrimination atheists face each day.  I just think we should simultaneously struggle against all forms of injustice. I may one day be jailed for being an atheist, but being another species is punishable by death.  That's far worse discrimination, and it can not wait until I get mine.

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