What Will be Left of the Country After the Predator Class Gets Through With It?

Gary G. Kohls, MD

An Adbuster essay by Chris Hedges (followed by an open letter to the media, by Gary G. Kohls, MD)

What is Left of the Country?

by Chris Hedges - Adbusters issue # 102

What was left of electoral politics in the United States gasped and sputtered to its extinction with the 2010 Supreme Court ruling known as Citizens United. At that point the game was over. Legalized bribery now defines the political process. The most retrograde elements of corporate capitalism, such as the Koch brothers, are the undisputed king makers. They decide who gets elected by anonymously pouring hundreds of millions into campaigns. They hang with their SuperPACs like vultures over the heads of every federal and state legislator. Any politician who dares to challenge corporate demands and unregulated corporate capitalism knows they will be thrust from political life as well as their highly paid corporate jobs once they leave office. Politicians, including Barack Obama, are corporate employees. And they know it.

Corporate money had corrupted the American political system even before the 2010 Citizens United ruling. We had 35,000 corporate lobbyists in Washington by 2010 writing legislation and funneling corporate donations to compliant politicians. But the ruling snuffed out even tepid and marginal resistance. It transformed us into an oligarchic, corporate state. It marked, in essence, the culmination of the corporate coup d’état that has slowly been established over the past few decades. We can identify our individuality through brands or choices in lifestyle, but political freedom does not exist.

Our highly choreographed campaigns are bizarre spectacles, sterile and empty acts of political theater. The personal narrative of candidates is the central point of debate, not issues, programs or policies. The rhetoric and style is different—in short the brands are different—between Republicans and Democrats, but the substance is the same. It is impossible within the political system in the United States to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil. Political debate is dominated by opinion rather than fact. Lies are true.

The right-wing Heritage Foundation, for example, designed Obama’s healthcare bill. It was first put into practice by then-Governor Mitt Romney in 2006 in Massachusetts. Barack Obama adopted it, after corporate lobbyists for the pharmaceutical and insurance industries rewrote it to include $447 billion in subsidies. Romneycare is Obamacare. It forces consumers to buy a default corporate product. The insurance companies can raise co-payments and premiums, including for the elderly and those on fixed income. They are exempted from providing coverage to chronically ill children. Once you get sick you can be priced out of the market. Of the one million Americans who go bankrupt every year because they cannot pay their medical bills, 80 percent are insured. This abuse will remain untouched. The healthy will pay. The sick will be pushed aside.

The debate on the airwaves between Republicans and Democrats over the healthcare bill, now before the Supreme Court, is part of the vast dumb show. And this is true for every piece of legislation pushed through Congress. The corporate media exists not to illuminate but to perpetuate the mirage. Coke or Pepsi. Take your pick. As if there is a difference.

The capturing of the legislature, executive and judiciary by corporate power, however, is only the first stage. We have now entered the second. The corporate state, led by Congress and the Supreme Court, is rapidly criminalizing dissent. The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was a bipartisan bill signed into law on New Year’s Eve by Obama, permits the U.S. government to employ the military as a domestic police force that can detain citizens accused of supporting terrorist groups or “associated forces” without due process until, in the language of the law, the end of hostilities. Obama has employed the Espionage Act against government officials who have leaked information about war crimes to the press, virtually shutting down investigative reporting. Only the official narrative now prevails. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendment Act (FISA) retroactively made legal what under our Constitution was illegal, the warrantless wiretapping, monitoring and eavesdropping on citizens. And the Supreme Court, utterly inverting the concept of the rule of law, recently ruled that those who are strip-searched by police or corrections officers, even if they are innocent of a crime, couldn’t challenge the measures in a court of law. In short, there is no legal recourse to the abuse of power.

The corporations will disembowel, or in the language of business schools “harvest,” what is left of the country. The security and surveillance apparatus will lock up those who resist. This is the future. The iron circle will be shut tight.

GGK: I emailed the Chris Hedges essay to a number of folks at the Duluth New-Tribune recently, sort of nudging them to study it and then hopefully to have them respond in some way. To ensure some accountability, I also cc’ed the message to some hundreds of people who are in politically progressive groups, who have also expressed similar frustrations with the seeming lack of fair and balanced coverage of a number of serious issues that are threatening American democracy—not to mention threats to the survival of the planet and its creatures (including the children and grandchildren of us all) so that there can be some monitoring of any response to Hedges’ challenge.

I received only one response. It said, “So. What do you suggest we do about it?”

Here was the essence of my reply:
In trying to answer your question (about what can be done, which I hope others will at least think about), I suggest that those who have the mandate (i.e., the media) to inform the voting public will do so truthfully and thoroughly, even if special corporate interests are not served. We all know that the Founding Fathers asserted that democracy can’t survive without a fully informed electorate. Full information is essential for any American “consumer” so that he or she can make informed voting and purchasing decisions. Unfortunately, democracy may already be on its deathbed, for less than 50 percent of eligible American voters usually vote in major elections.
A thorough and brutally truthful media is a necessity in a true democracy—as opposed to the brainwashing that happens with the oft-repeated lies of propaganda tactics so widely used in political campaigns and advertising.

In other words, for a functioning democracy, the voters and the readers and viewers of the media need to be fully aware of what is really going on behind the scenes in government, business, the secret security services, the 400 right-wing think tanks set up by the plutocracy (the predatory, unelected, elite ruling class—that is, the 1 Percent), and the military/industrial/congressional/judicial complex that does the bidding of those plutocrats.

The media has the sacred obligation to expose the hidden agendas of anti-democracy power-mongering groups, like the Washington Post did with the power-mad and temporarily insane Richard Milhous Nixon and his Waterloo, Watergate.
The list of serious issues that are dooming American democracy and that are totally ignored or at least kept off the front pages by the editorial staff of the DNT and other local media outlets  (except for the Reader, the Zenith, and Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now, broadcast every weekday morning at 9 a.m. on KUMD FM 103.3) is long. It seems to many observers that virtually none of the issues that are reported on every day on Democracy Now are EVER given any adequate daily coverage in the Duluth area. To be fair, neither are these issues covered by most of the other mainstream news outlets, even NPR and MPR. Which raises the question: is there a conspiracy going on here?
I will list ten examples, just off the top of my head, of serious anti-democracy issues not covered by the mainstream media. They are all easily Googleable. Many more can be accessed at Project Censored (www.projectcensored.org).

1) ALEC (the pro-corporate American Legislative Exchange Council), which is the euphemistic name of a well-concealed (until recently) right-wing think tank founded and paid for by any number of billionaires, conservative politicians, and scores of major corporations. The highly paid staff of ALEC has been writing pro-corporate, anti-democratic model legislation that is then implemented, virtually verbatim, by conservative federal and state legislators and governors like Scott Walker—see www.ALECexposed.com.

2) The smelly, slimy SuperPacs (see # 4 below)

3) The highly influential bribers of many GOP politicians, the billionaire Koch Brothers and their not-so-hidden right-wing agenda (for starters, their daddy founded the neo-fascist John Birch Society)
4) The mother of all democracy-killers, the 2010 Citizens United ruling of the pro-corporate, conservative activist Roberts’ Court that legalized the previously illegal and obscene big money influences that are now rapidly taking control of federal and state elections and the governments that result

5) The NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) of 2012, which President Obama signed in the middle of the night, which further erodes the Constitution and Bill of Rights and gives the U.S. military the right to indefinitely detain any suspect, U.S. citizen or not, without any legal rights to due process

6) The government and press censorship about the Fukashima disaster, probably worse than Chernobyl, and the serious radiation poisoning of the northern hemisphere, including the United States

7) The Project for the New American Century and its highly influential right-wing chickenhawk proponents and planners of an American military and economic empire— by “a new Pearl Harbor” (= 9/11?) or by any other means necessary, including perpetual war

8) The breathless, panicky passage of the previously prepared, on-the-shelf Patriot Acts and Homeland Security Acts (that nobody except for the true patriot Dennis Kucinich actually read before they were passed) during the Bush administration-generated war hysteria following 9/11/01

9) The Bush/Obama Drone Wars, designed to extra-legally kill people merely “suspected” of being a terrorist on foreign soil. The use of drones to kill suspects and other unproven-to-be-guilty humans and their families qualifies as an international war crime and a crime against humanity

10) The illegal, based-on-lies wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that followed the obvious and scientifically provable controlled demolitions of the three massive, steel-reinforced World Trade Center towers on 9/11/01
At this point I challenge the readers of this message, before they reflexively stoop to defend their tired old propaganda-instilled and concretized beliefs about “9/11 Truth conspiracy theories,” to spend a few hours watching and studying the following two websites (that is, if there is any honest willingness to overcome their cognitive dissonance and risk learning about some unwelcome truths about the Crime and Cover-up of the Century): http://www.ae911truth.org and http://www.911scholars.org).
Refusing to do so disqualifies those readers from condemning the highly intelligent and very patriotic scientists, philosophers, psychologists, educators, pilots, ex-CIA agents, controlled demolition experts, and others who have done the hard work studying the evidence that totally disproves the Cheney/Bush White House’s illogical conspiracy theory that brief jet fuel fires and the resultant low-temperature office fires caused the sudden pulverization, into fine dust, of the three concrete– and steel-reinforced towers that have been used to justify, with the complicity of the major media, two wars that cost millions of Middle Easterners their lives and/or livelihoods, tens of thousands of American soldiers their lives, sanity, and physical health, and trillions of unnecessary borrowed tax dollars that were flushed down the Pentagon toilet, never to be seen again.
The list above isn’t really a top ten list; rather, it is a very short list of only a few of the censored-out stories that many American media watchers are unaware of as they do their democratic duty by trying to figure out which corporate-controlled candidate on the ballot might be the lesser of two evils. Because of this media under-reporting, the potentially panicky sheeple (not to mention the average unaware investor) are falsely reassured that the republic and the economy are going to be OK. Below are some quotes that apply.

“Every imperialist nation looks strong until the last five minutes.” –Eduard Benes

“Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” –Benito Mussolini

“The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer.” –Henry Kissinger, as reported in the October 28, 1973, New York Times

“The individual is handicapped by coming face to face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists.” –J. Edgar Hoover, former head of the FBI and probable co-conspirator in the JFK assassination, as well as other acts of extra-judicial violence

“It is the function of the CIA to keep the world unstable, and to propagandize and teach the American people to hate, so we will let the Establishment spend any amount of money on arms.” –John Stockwell, former CIA official and author

“We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.” –William Casey, CIA director 1981

“The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” –William Colby, former CIA director
“A patriotism that refuses ever to call one’s country to account for the morality of its action is no true patriotism at all. It is a bogus patriotism.” –William H. Shannon
 “World leaders would rather kill hundreds of thousands than risk the unmanly ignominy of backing down. But today’s patriotism seems to me the patriarchal justification for legally sanctioned murder...” –Naomi Weisstein
 “To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.” –Abraham Lincoln
”The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who during time of great moral crisis maintained their neutrality.” –Dante
“They say that patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings; Steal a little and they throw you in jail; Steal a lot and they make you king.” –Bob Dylan
“Democracy don’t rule the world; You better get that through your head. This world is ruled by violence, but I guess that’s better left unsaid.” –Bob Dylan