I got the idea for this essay from the book The Gulag Archipelago written by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn which he won the Nobel Prize in Literature for in 1970. I remember reading a speech by Solzhenitsyn which he delivered to a graduating class at Harvard University around 1978 I believe. You can do a Google search and read it for yourself if you’d care to. The subtitle of the speech I read, jumped-out at me “The West’s Pernicious Mask of Well-Being,” and is relevant in the context of what I’m about to say in this essay. In Solzhenitsyn’s book mentioned above, he details the rise of the police state in Russia and his experiences in the gulag and the forced labor he and the other prisoners were subjected to. You may think me a kook but I submit that we, in America, not born into the 1% who make up the ruling elite of America, are well on our way to a de facto forced labor national gulag not far removed from the horrors that Solzhenitsyn was forced to endure. I have been a student of America’s domestic & foreign policy and practices for over 30 years and if you don’t want to become very depressed, stop reading this essay now because it’s not going to be pretty. I just jotted down these main topics in a matter of 15 minutes or so this morning and here they are in no particular order.
I was watching Democracy Now! this morning, March 26, 2012, and by the way, it’s one of two of the best or most informative radio stations in America, and the story was on the assault or war against whistleblowers under the Obama administration. Obama has prosecuted (persecuted) more whistleblowers than all the other administrations combined. And talk about hypocrisy, Obama makes speeches praising whistleblowers in other nations but here in America, he is doing his best to silence them. In the U.S. whistleblowers are painted/portrayed as traitors in the effort to marginalize them and obscure the issues raised. Quite simply, a whistleblower is someone who works within an organization and has inside information and proof of crimes being committed and decides to risk their job, their reputation, & their family’s financial well-being because they believe it their duty to inform the public of crimes being committed that often cost us, the taxpayers, millions, if not billions of dollars in fraud, waste, theft, endangerment, etc. See the story of former NSA (National Security Agency) employee, Thomas Drake. And I also want to share a video clip of another brave whistleblower, Sibel Edmonds.
Next in my list describing the nightmare that has become America is the organization called A.L.E.C. (American Legislative Exchange Council). Last year marked this organization’s 38th annual convention and its largest number of attendees, approximately 2,000. It’s made up of senators and congressmen from states across America, many of our federal legislators, and CEOs of most of the largest corporations in America. Their conventions are highly secretive and not open to the public and in a nutshell, they get together and draft new laws that they then pass when they return to their home districts. The legislation they draft and then pass clearly benefit the corporations and harm the American public. If this isn’t a blatant end-run around our Constitution, then I don’t know what is. Of course the politicians go along with it because the corporate executives promise and deliver huge campaign pledges to the legislators who are supposed to represent our interests and not the corporate crocodiles’ interests.
To resume my portrait of America, the land of freedom & democracy, this one reveals just how audacious the greedy bastards are and how profound their contempt for our intelligence is. In short, the recent, much ballyhooed $40 billion dollar settlement that the “Super Banks, too big to fail” are suppose to pay for their fraud in home foreclosures will be subsidized by us, the taxpayers. This is yet another example of so called justice and respect for the law in this land of the free and home of the brave. Of course they hide the simple truth of it in all their double-talk, jargon, & legalese but if you’d care to read it for yourself, go to http://www.zerohedge.com/news/housing-settlement-be-taxpayer-funded-confirming-big-five-banks-are-beyond-law Oh yeah, almost forgot to add that of course Obama gets to look tough on white-collar crime to boost his ratings but it was clear to me from the start of his presidency when he appointed Summers, Geitner, & Bernanke, some of the most culpable criminals in the world-wide economic meltdown, that Obama was just another lying politician and I don’t care who he’s up against from the Republican party, I won’t vote for Obama again!
With this in mind e.g. the incredible betrayal of us as citizens of a supposed democracy, can you tell me again why we’re in Afghanistan? And why were we in Iraq? Why were we in Vietnam? Since Vietnam was such a humiliating experience for the warmongers and war profiteers, they no longer bother with declaring who won and who lost. No, now we just declare “mission accomplished” like that little coward from Crawford, Dubya Bush who strutted around the deck of a battleship anchored off of San Diego for the photo opportunity. Georgie got to play dress-up again and put on a pilot’s jacket like he was a real pilot and the majority of the American public don’t know or remember that he was in the “Champagne Unit” of the Texas Air National Guard that daddy got him into but because he couldn’t pass a urine test due to his boozing & snorting cocaine, he went AWOL for several months but his records have disappeared. Funny thing, they didn’t lose my records when I refused to go to Vietnam? In brief, we invaded & occupied Iraq because of a massive propaganda campaign mounted by the sinister & diabolical Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz, etc. and again, thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis died and many more were maimed for life. We’re in Afghanistan not because of the attacks on September 11th but because of the oil in the region of the Caspian Sea. You see my friend, as President Eisenhower warned us; the military/industrial/congressional complex has grown so powerful and profitable that it will never stop. In a nutshell, in order to finance all these wars which make the politicians and the CEOs of the “Defense” industries filthy rich (Halliburton—Dick Cheney), they will and are gutting every single program established to help out the poor, the needy, the hungry, the homeless, and they are now eliminating the middle class which we used to be able to strive for becoming a part of.
In other words, like all empires e.g. The Roman Empire, The British Empire, etc. which we have modeled ourselves on, the war machine ends up devouring the resources of the empire and self-implodes or decays from within. Think I’m just another alarmist, fear monger? Check out Chalmers Johnson’s credentials and he wrote in depth about our military/industrial complex and noted that we have nearly 800 military bases around the globe and God knows how many secret prisons?
To change the subject somewhat but not really because it’s all interconnected, the power elite (see Alfred McCoy) are waging an aggressive, all-out assault on us all and most recently in the Republican Reptile campaign for the presidency, they are seeking to turn back the clock on women’s reproductive rights. It’s absolutely mindboggling how these “Christian fascists & fundamentalists” want and are working tirelessly to force women back into the kitchen, barefoot & pregnant, and completely subservient to their husbands and fathers. These wolves in sheep’s’ clothing calling themselves Christians don’t care if a girl or a woman is raped by her father or a stranger, she must never have an abortion because life is precious except after the child is born, then they don’t believe the state should assist women with food stamps, welfare, day care, Head Start, medical care, anything. That’s how precious life is to them. (by the way, in case the above link to Chalmers Johnson doesn’t work, go to You Tube and look up “Chalmers Johnson ‘Speaking Freely’ it’s 6 mins, & 38 secs. Long) And for more in depth analysis of the assault on women by the conservative reactionary Right-wing extremists (Santorum, Gingrich, Limbaugh, etc.) see http://ianmasters.com/ this is from the second source of the two sources I mentioned for being truly informed, Background Briefing a radio program on the Pacifica Radio network (completely listener sponsored) hosted by Ian Masters and I have been listening to it for many years. The specific program to back up what I’m saying is on March 20, 2012 and the guest is Nancy Cohen. By the way, have you noticed the blowback that Rush Limbaugh has gotten as a result of his calling that young college student who testified before Congress regarding women’s reproductive rights, a “slut?” Yeah, many sponsors have pulled their ads from his broadcast and I can only hope and pray that he goes the way of Glenn Beck?
Furthermore in regards to the assault on women, the Right-wing nuts (gluttonous & greedy) are simultaneously and quite openly waging a war on voters and trying to disenfranchise Blacks & Latinos primarily because they know that they usually vote Democratic. But I must admit that I wonder if it isn’t an exercise in futility for us to fight for our right to vote because they clearly stole the presidential election in 2000 and again in 2004 with their rigged voting machines. On the other hand, voting is perhaps the last bit of power we have against the Masters of the Universe and at least it’s our opportunity to tell them to go fuck themselves! And have you noticed the war on unions which of course has been going on since the 1950s. But in the last few years they’ve really stepped-up their assault on America’s workers. Note the governor of Wisconsin who thought he was talking to one of the Koch brothers and clearly revealed his hand. The corporate class or what we used to refer to as the Robber Barons like Rockefeller, Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, etc. have always been against workers and especially against unions because they don’t want to pay one cent more than they absolutely have to. Note, some popular rap artist, not sure who, is reported to have said “minimum wage is an employer’s way of saying to his workers, I’d pay you even less if I could but the government makes me pay you at least this.”
Admittedly, it often seems pointless to battle against this rigged system laughingly called a republic especially when you consider the disastrous Supreme Court decision Citizens United. The very name is a clever ploy the so-called but not true conservatives have learned to use very effectively in their propaganda wars against the American public. They disguise their inhumane assaults on our freedoms with language designed to trick or dupe us into believing they are the good guys and liberals & progressives are the bad guys or the enemies of democracy.
With the Citizens United decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, the corporate cockroaches have gained tremendous power over us because they are now free to “donate” as much money as they want to the politicians of their choice under the guise of “free speech.” Who was it that said something to the effect that free speech belongs to those who own the press? Ah! The wonders of the Internet, here’s the quote: Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one. ~Abbott Joseph Liebling, “Do You Belong in Journalism?” New Yorker, 4 May 1960 while working on my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, I took a semester long course on John Milton and this is a quote of his that stuck with me: “Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?”
― John Milton, Areopagitica
But the powers that be in this country and in every country around the globe that are afraid of their citizens becoming too aware or knowledgeable about the machinations of the wealthy & the politicians behind the curtains of “National Security,” do everything in their power to suppress open debate, criticism, and the free flow of information. Sadly, most of my fellow Americans sincerely believe that they are informed because they watch the nightly news or read the local and/or major national newspapers. Common sense tells us that the rich who own the handful of media conglomerates are not going to allow their journalists, their television commentators, pundits, journalists to openly criticize corporations who are paying millions in advertising fees to the media conglomerates. This would be very stupid from a business perspective. And “FOX News” is the most blatant or brazen example of a media conglomerate that is totally subservient to the power elite. Check out Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 9/11 and the fact that it was a relative of George W. Bush’s who was working on FOX News on election night 2000 and with all the confusion between the major television stations, he proclaimed in a self-assured tone that Florida had actually been won by Bush and the major networks just went along with it without checking the figures and facts and then the Supreme Court for the first time in U.S. history, intervened and stopped the vote recount and being stacked with friendly fascists, appointed Georgie Porgie, the darling of the crocodile class to the presidency of the United States, the most powerful position on Earth because of our military arsenal.
If the American public is constantly deceived, distracted with sports/T.V., and deliberately misinformed (former generals, etc. retired & paid huge sums by FOX News, etc. to slant their “honest assessments” towards supporting the current war of choice, how do you think the actual truth is going to come out? This is precisely what President Eisenhower was forewarning us of i.e. when the military (Pentagon), corporate America (Defense Industries), and he was persuaded to leave out, the Congressional members (Senators & House Representatives who write the bills that become laws) eventually grow so powerful that they de facto control our “Democracy,” we are in fact a subjugated people, not free citizens in a free and open Democracy. And I would add that we have become or are very close to what we have been supposedly fighting against for the past 50 years.
Furthermore, in this war of the obscenely wealthy against all the rest of us, our public educational system has fairly recently became a major target of the Vulture Capitalists with the crusade for charter schools. The subject of public education is a subject of great personal interest and I have over 26 years of experience working in the field and even more years as a “professional” or “perpetual” student. So please forgive me if I get up on my high horse here. First of all, while I love learning and believe it is the golden key that helps many poor students escape their prisons, I am also very critical of our public educational system but not so far as to fall for the phony claim of the reptilian republicans who claim to care about public education and want to turn us into a nation of Charter Schools. No, I’ve been paying attention for far too long to believe their B.S. for a split-second. They scream for “accountability” but with the privatization of public education which charter schools truly represents, they are free to drain the public education tax dollars but with little, if any, accountability. It’s the business model of Mitt Romney, like hyenas, circle the dying prey, buy them dirt cheap, suck out the remaining assets and sell them off and then walk away leaving a hollow, bankrupt shell and once again, the taxpayers pick up the tab. This is the caliber of presidential candidates in this noble land.
I’m the first to agree that our public education system is a dismal failure but the solution isn’t to open it to the predators. No, the solution in a few broad strokes is to 1) raise the standards necessary to become a teacher; 2) raise the standards necessary to graduate high school & college; 3) pay teachers at least twice what they are now making; 4) get the god-damned bureaucrats & Christian fundamentalists off teachers’ backs; 5) trust & backup teachers, in short allow them to teach freely, imaginatively, and without interference or disrespect. Treat them as professionals entrusted with our most precious resource, our children; and finally, 6) pair new teachers with sensitive, compassionate, older teachers to guide & encourage them along the way.
Next on the hit list of the hyenas of high finance is Social Security and once again, the rapacious rich with their billions to pay for the best PR agencies (Propaganda Revisionism) in America spin, twist, & pervert the truth by brainwashing the public into accepting their label of Social Security as an “Entitlement program.” This implies that those who receive Social Security are getting yet another hand-out by our oversized government. Social Security is an insurance program and we pay into it all our working lives like we would a personal savings account. The thieves in high places are doing everything in their power to deceive us into allowing them to privatize it and convince the gullible to invest their Social Security savings into the stocks and bonds markets. And they can hardly refrain from salivating at the mere mention/thought of getting their claws on the trove of money in Social Security. The recent raid on the Federal Treasury where we, the taxpayers were forced to bail out the criminal class so they could continue to rob us blind and countless other examples show us that we would have to be complete morons to trust these foxes to guard the hen house of Social Security.
Moving on, let’s take a look at the constant demand from the filthy rich for ever more tax breaks and their claim that if they don’t get more tax breaks they’ll be forced to lay people off or can’t hire more people. I’ve seen this dog & pony show for the past 30 years starting with Ronnie Reagan and his “Trickle Down theory” of economics i.e. gives tax breaks to the corporations and the wealth trickles down to the average workers. No, what happened back then and has continued on unabated for three decades is that there were record mergers of giant corporations and they became ever more profitable and said “screw the workers,” we’re all that matters (Mitt Romney’s yacht club members) who are vulture capitalists in the truest sense. Just think of Romney as the living embodiment of Gordon Gecko in Oliver Stone’s first movie Wall St. with Michael Douglas playing Gordon Gecko. Remember his “Greed is Good” speech? Reagan made the same speech and dubbed the 1980s the “Me Decade.” Do you recall the Savings & Loan Scandal or the dot com bubble that burst or Enron, etc. etc. etc.? Let me now introduce you to an economist with a very different perspective, Richard Wolff:
Without a doubt, the powerful banksters, hedge fund managers, high finance fiends who feed off the body politic like parasites or maggots, will never be satisfied and are blinded by their greed. I have perhaps another 20 or 30 pages I could add to this essay but think I’ll divide this essay up into parts for easier digestion. I am therefore going to conclude this part where I began i.e. like the “Evil Empire” that Reagan dubbed the U.S.S.R. our mortal enemy for decades with our “Cold War” that threw trillions of dollars down the drain, our government and its masters behind the curtains, go after whistleblowers with a vengeance because their crimes must be hidden from the general public or else their whole house of cards comes crashing down. So thanks to most of the “mainstream media” such as NBC, CBS, ABC, CNN, CSPAN, & FOX News, we’re periodically reminded of what a great nation we are and how all the world wants to be like us and/or come here. A doctor recently remarked, “What do we think of a person who is constantly bragging about how great he is and how everyone wants to be him?” The answer is clear but we’d better open our eyes and realize that “Our pernicious mask of well-being” (Alexsandr Solzhenitsyn) is a massive deception designed to deceive ourselves. The true history of America past & present is too ugly for most people to face. Our “leaders” democrat and republican alike in their imperial dreams of glory and empire have & continue to spread death, dread, & despair around the globe and we’d better get off our asses and stop them before we self-implode like Russia did, face another “Great Depression” brought to us courtesy of the Republican party, terrorists get their hands on a nuclear bomb, or the world-wide climate is drastically altered to such an extent that life as we know it, will perish!
I want to leave you with another video clip that further helps substantiate my assertion that we are indeed drifting into a police state, gulag, fascism, whatever you prefer to call it.