Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org:
It’s not just that the United States has a higher percentage of its people in prison than does any other nation on the planet. (El Salvador — the land that was largely made what it today is, by its US trained-and-equipped death squads — is now number 2 on that measure. In another country the US controls, Honduras, protesters tried to burn down the US Embassy on 31 May 2019.)
This police-state operates also in far subtler ways. Here is one of those subtler ways, which has global importance:
The US Constitution has become thoroughly removed from the functioning US Government — no restraint whatsoever upon governmental powers. For a prominent example of this: What is left of the First Amendment’s protection of freedom of speech (freedom to communicate to the public) and freedom of the press (freedom to transmit to the public) if even online publication (and increasingly notonly printed and broadcast publication) is being censored by the government, and/or by the billionaires (such as the neoconservative Democrat Jack Dorsey, the founder of Twitter), the 607individuals whose political donations collectively, and very effectively, control the US Government?
If the public do not possess the means to communicate freely with one-another, then do they possess any meaningful freedom, at all?Or would such a nation instead be a dictatorship, no democracy, at all (except on paper, such as the now-irrelevant US Constitution)?
The case of Julian Assange is especially instructive here:
On July 12th, Caitlin Johnstone headlined “Top Assange Defense Account Deleted By Twitter”, and she reported that, “One of the biggest Twitter accounts dedicated to circulating information and advocacy for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, @Unity4J, has been completely removed from the site. The operators of the account report that they have been given no reason for its removal by Twitter staff, and have received no response to their appeals.”
Mrs Christine Assange
HELP!! @Twitter suspended @Unity4J
The global #FreeAssange supporters account!
Its a central point for updates, interviews & actions re my son politically persecuted journalist JULIAN ASSANGE!
This is suppression not only of American speech, but of global speech (Wikileaks is global), and it is perpetrated by one of the corporations of the neoconservative (i.e., imperialistic American) supporters of the liberal American Democratic Party, Jack Dorsey, who thinks that his corporation, Twitter, has the right to do this.
Billionaires’ control over the US Government is so total, that they now are so brazen as to impose their censorship even directly, by the companies and ’nonprofits’ (think tanks etc., such as Dorsey’s friend and fellow-Democrat, the liberal neocon billionaire Nicholas Berggruen‘s Berggruen Institute, which is tied to the liberal Huffington Post, which such wealthy people control even more directly than they control the US Government). This is how these people pretend to be ‘progressive’, even while they actually are peddling their international corporate empire, by means of hiding the corruption that stands behind and underneath this empire. Even liberal billionaires, such as these, are neoconservatives (US imperialists), because neoconservatism is US imperialism; and, for example, the progressive independent Julian Assange is the world’s leading investigative journalist and publisher against imperialism itself — against any imperialism. To him, there is no decent imperialism: it’s always international dictatorship, never international democracy; and he (just as any progressive) is committed to democracy, not just nationally, but internationally. Democracy is his ideological commitment. Americans call American imperialism “regime change” operations, but it’s always just raw imperialism — the grabbing of other countries, and WikiLeaks is against that; he’s against international dictatorship. So: how can the public vote in a truthfully-informed way, when the chief corruptors run the entire ’news’ show, and thus can freely censor-out whatever they do not like? It’s simply not possible.
How can Dempsey do this, while also being a huge supporter of liberal ‘causes’, such as the ACLU? Here is how: The ACLU and the other ‘causes’ that liberal billionaires contribute to, avoid the issue of imperialism, and avoid any other economic-class-focussed issue, and focus instead on other types of cases (including Black versus White, Jew versus Christian, male versus female, gay versus straight, etc.), which (whatever their own importance) pose no real threat to billionaires’ personal wealth. The ACLU wouldn’t be able to get the huge amounts of donations that they get from liberal billionaires and their corporations, unless it excluded the basicpolitical issue, of the super-rich versus everyone else, and so it does this: it avoids this issue — which is what makes it be a liberal organization, instead of a progressive organization (which, by its very nature, focuses on precisely issues of economic class, such as imperialism).
Imperialism has always been practiced by the aristocracy, never by the public — never by the people who aren’t agents of the aristocracy. Many billionaires are liberal. Virtually, if not entirely, none of them are progressive, because progressivism is the opposite of conservatism, whereas liberalism is a mixture of both. Every billionaire is conservative, though some of them (such as Dorsey) are liberal (mixed) conservatives. Not all of them are pure conservatives, such as the Koch brothers are. Every billionaire benefits from imperialism, because international corporations (which are the main thing that billionaires control) benefit from imperialism. Imperialism benefits onlythe super-rich, because the super-rich have become, and remain, super-rich only because of the military might that enforces their will when international diplomacy (the cheaper alternative) has failed. The entire taxpaying public — 99+% of which are NOT billionaires — pays the tab for this enormously expensive global military (half of which is American). (America has emerged to become today’s Sparta.) But the beneficiaries from imperialism are exclusively the super-rich — it’s an enormous public subsidy to international corporations, and to their investors. It’s the biggest welfare-program that exists, and it is welfare for only the super-rich, at everybody else’s expense. And especially at the expense of the publics in the lands that American billionaires want to grab — such as Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Ukraine, Venezuela, China, and Russia. It enormously transfers wealth from the rest of the world, to the world’s billionaires.
All of the world’s millionaires, put together, are only 0.8% of the world’s total population, but they own 44.8% of all of the world’s privately owned wealth. The world’s poorest 63.9% own just 1.9%. (Those facts are documented on page 20 there.) Thus, the entire poorest 63.9%, which are 3.211 billion people, own around 4% as much as do the few richest 0.8%, which are 42 million people. And, of course, according to Forbes, there are only 2,153 billionaires. So, there’s 1 billionaire for every 19,531 millionaires. Billionaires are the rarest of the rare, and they control virtually all international corporations.
Those percentages — the enormous inequality — are about the same within the US as they are globally. How is it possible for democracy to exist in such conditions? It’s not. Money is power. Corruption runs the world. And America’s billionaires are the global masters of it. But all billionaires hate Julian Assange, because they cannot corrupt him. That’s why not a single one of them is even trying to protect him from all of the others of them: they are united in their hatred of him.
No one has done as much to reveal the corruption that stands behind empire as Julian Assange has. Billionaires are disunited on lots of things — for examples: fossil fuels, immigration, feminism — but they are united in favor of imperialism. And, all throughout history, the aristocracy has been that way: imperialistic.
And America’s imprisonment-rate, and the Assange case, are hardly the only indications that the US is no democracy but only a dictatorship. Here are some other such indications.
NOTE: Although in terms of per-capita military expenditure the US is higher than any other country (shown by MSN as being second-highest after Saudi Arabia, but this was only because the US systematically under-reports its actual annual military expenditures), the US is nowhere near the top for the percentage of its population who are employed in the military: it’s #75 out of 170 countries, with North Korea being #1 on that. What this demonstrates is the extraordinarily high percentage of America’s military expenditures that go to paying not soldiers but the military contractors, such as Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and General Dynamics, the giant weapons-making firms. Those are the firms whose markets are virtually 100% the US Government and its allied regimes or vassal nations (such as NATO), America’s allies. The controlling investors in those corporations are the chief beneficiaries of America’s police-state. However, extractive corporations such as ExxonMobil are close behind, because only by means of this enormous military are they enabled to offer foreign regimes “an offer they can’t refuse.” Thus, the arms contractors, and the extractors, control US foreign policies, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Neoconservatism is America’s bipartisan foreign policy.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.