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U.S. Army Colonel: Democracy Is Dead -- But Can Be Revived

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Rogelio V. Solis/AP

Las Vegas resident John Alexander is a retired Army colonel who was a Green Beret commander in Vietnam.

Alexander is also known as the father of non-lethal weaponry, has a Ph.D in thanatology, having studied with Elizabeth Kubler Ross. And he has authored several books, including "Future War: Non-Lethal Weapons in Modern Warfare."

To say Alexander is a patriot might be an understatement.

Which is partly why we are talking to him about his recent column in the Huffington Post, "The Day American Democracy Died (January 21, 2010)."

The date refers to the day the U.S. Supreme Court famously declared that corporations have the same rights as people. A decision known as Citizens United. That decision opened the gates for corporate money to flood into local and national political campaigns.

Alexander's column makes the case in plain language for something many people already feel: that we are living in a country whose entire political and cultural systems are dominated by the rich. A plutocracy.

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He told KNPR's State of Nevada that the country was already shifting in that direction before the actual Supreme Court decision. 

“What this did was change it and formalize the output and just ruled that an infinite amount of money can be put in.” he said. 

Alexander said the candidacy of Jeb Bush is an example of how the candidate with the most money isn't necessarily the one who wins, but he believes that political action committees with a lot of money can make an impact on an election. 

"The ability to flood the airwaves really does influence a lot of people,” he said.

 Colonel Alexander doesn’t simply point out the problems, though, he offers solutions, including eliminating gerrymandering, creating coalition governments and using federal funding for elections with spending limits.

However, he believes one of the best solutions is to overturn Citizens United or pass a constitutional amendment to get rid of it.

"Almost everybody agrees that this was the wrong decision," he said.  

From YouTube: "The Newsroom" 

Guests

Col. John B. Alexander (ret.), author, Ph.D.

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