Americans Are Only Now Beginning to Learn that We Live in a Dictatorship

North Woods

By Eric Zuesse
December 22, 2017

The first time when it became clear to me that I live in a dictatorship was in 2014 when reading, prior to its publication, the landmark (and still the only) scientific empirical study to address the question as to whether or not the United States federal Government is, authentically, a democracy — or, whether, alternatively, it’s instead more of a dictatorship, than a democracy. This study documented conclusively that America’s Government is the latter.

So, on 14 April 2014, I headlined “US Is an Oligarchy, Not a Democracy, Says Scientific Study”. Subsequently, my editor linked it to the published article at the Journal where the study was published, Perspectives on Politics, from the American Political Science Association, and the full study can be read there.

On 30 April 2014, was posted at youtube the video that remains, to this day, the best and clearest ordinary-language summary of what that badly-written academic study proved. See its explanation here:

That summary’s title is also better than the title of my article was; this excellent video headlines “Corruption is Legal in America”, which is another accurate conclusion from that study. Every American citizen should know what this 6-minute video says and shows from the academic study, because it explains how the super-rich, as a class, steal from everyone else (everyone who isn’t super-rich): They do it through corruption.

Then, that same person who created the video did another presentation of it, but this time with text accompanying the video, and this article was titled “One graph shows how the rich control American politics”, and it indeed showed how. The super-rich carry out their control via corruption, which is legal in America and which can be done vastly more by rich people than by poor people — poor people simply can’t buy the Government, and any who would even attempt to do so would be using only the illegal means, which the US Supreme Court says constitutes the only illegal means, and that’s blatant bribery, which is lower-class corruption, not the far more lucrative type of corruption that super-wealthy individuals have access to. Only the forms of corruption which are available only to the super-rich are legal in America. That’s the reason why the super-rich keep getting still-richer, while the rest of the population are lucky if they don’t become poorer.

On 28 July 2015, former US President Jimmy Carter was frank about this situation; as a caller at a progressive radio show, he said this about America’s soaring top-level corruption:

“It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or being elected president. And the same thing applies to governors, and US Senators and congress members. So, now we’ve just seen a subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect, and sometimes get, favors for themselves after the election is over. … At the present time the incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody that is already in Congress has a great deal more to sell.”

Three days later, Huffington Post published my article about that statement, which was headlined “Jimmy Carter Is Correct That the US Is No Longer a Democracy,” and it had over 60,000 likes on Facebook (here the article is shown a bit earlier, when it had 56,000) but HuffPo reduced that number down to its currently shown number, 18,000; and this article turned out to have been the last submission of the 100+ that they accepted from me. They’ve rejected all of my submissions after it. No explanation was ever given, and I never heard anything from them again.

The scientific article about America’s Government had reviewed 1,779 pieces of proposed legislation during the period from 1981 to 2002, and it found that only what the super-rich wanted to become law did become law: “The preferences of the average American appear to have only a minuscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy,” they said. That’s certainly not a democracy.

There has been speculation as to how far back historically America’s government-by-the-aristocracy (or, simply, America’s being an aristocracy — a rule over the public by the few super-rich, an “oligarchy”) has been in effect. Prior to Ronald Reagan’s Presidency, going back to the time when FDR died in office in 1945 as the President, the distribution of income and of wealth was much more equal in America than it started to become as soon as Reagan entered the White House and began the subsequent dominance of supply-side economics, which is based upon the supply-push belief that wealth trickles down from the few rich, instead of (as FDR believed) in a demand-pull way, that it percolates up from the many poor. FDR believed that what drives an economy is needs, not the products and services to fill needs. Reagan believed in the opposite, Say’s law, which says that whatever is produced will fill needs (or at least desires) — that production is what drives an economy, and that needs (and desires) just take care of themselves. So, FDR focused on “the common man” and especially the poor, but Reagan focused on “entrepreneurs” or the owners of businesses. (The middle class isn’t an issue here, but is simply the richer portion of the poor. Historically that has been the case. For example, America’s middle class has declined while the poor have mushroomed, but the top 5% are getting all of the gains; and most of that is going to the top 1% or even less. So: “poor” here includes the middle-class; and, to refer to “middle-class America” is now like referring to a dying breed — but it’s a breed of poor, not of rich.)

However, the extreme corruption at the top in this country is showing up more sharply than ever in recently declassified US Government documents about the JFK assassination — showing up as having begun much earlier than had generally been suspected, begun at least by the time when President Kennedy came into office on 20 January 1961. Kennedy found himself surrounded by the military-industrial complex that his predecessor, Eisenhower, had cultivated while he was in the White House and that “Ike” hypocritically warned the American public against, on his way out of office, only on 17 January 1961 — three days before Kennedy’s inauguration. Some of these corrupt people were ones whom Kennedy himself had brought in. Not all of them were Ike’s holdovers. But Kennedy was apparently shocked, nonetheless.

The beginnings of this profound corruption might be traced still farther back to moles in the Government (such as the Dulles brothers, Averell Harriman and Prescott Bush) who had built their careers after World War I by means of plying and mastering the revolving door between the Government’s foreign-policy Establishment and Wall Street. Starting at the very end of WW II, in 1945, agents of these moles ended FDR’s Office of Strategic Services and started Truman’s CIA. Right from the get-go, the CIA was deeply corrupt, as the following 2.5-hour BBC documentary from 1992 makes clear:

Operation Gladio – Full 1992 documentary BBC

It documents from testimony of former CIA operatives in Europe, that the CIA had been hiring European aristocrats and committed fascists and even ‘former’ Nazis, to set up terrorist incidents in Europe rigged so as to be blamed by the public against communists and against any entities that were favorable in any way toward the Soviet Union. Numberless Europeans were injured and killed in terrorist incidents that were set up by the CIA to be, basically, anti-communist propaganda. This CIA operation was called “Gladio,” and it continues to this day, even though communism itself is gone.

Subsequently, a video was done that’s far briefer, 50 minutes, and which starts with interviews of some of the survivors of these CIA-NATO operations, so that it’s far more from the victims’ perspective than was the BBC’s lengthier documentary:

NATO’s Secret Armies (2009)

When Kennedy became President, he found himself surrounded by advisors who were urging him such as, on 22 March 1962, John Kennedy’s own brother and US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy did, when RFK held a meeting to discuss “the possibility of US manufacture or acquisition of Soviet aircraft” because:

“There is a possibility that such aircraft could be used in a deception operation designed to confuse enemy planes in the air, to launch a surprise attack against enemy installations or in a provocation operation in which Soviet aircraft would appear to attack US or friendly installations in order to provide an excuse for US intervention. If the planes were to be used in such covert operations, it would seem preferable to manufacture them in the United States.”

And, also like this (on 12 April 1962, from a Major General and CIA officer — see it on page 16):

“We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington. The terror campaign could be pointed at Cuban refugees seeking haven in the United States. We could sink a boatload of Cubans en route to Florida (real or simulated). We could foster attempts on lives of Cuban refugees in the United States even to the extent of wounding in instances to be widely publicized. Exploding a few plastic bombs in carefully chosen spots, the arrest of a Cuban agent and the release of prepared documents substantiating Cuban involvement also would be helpful in projecting the idea of an irresponsible government.”

Even JFK’s own brother RFK, and Secretary of ‘Defense’ Robert McNamara, and Secretary of State Dean Rusk — plus lots of holdovers from the Eisenhower Administration — thought that this sort of thing would be worth the President of the United States considering. Fortunately, JFK didn’t.

Michael Ellison had gotten to see a bit of the 12 April 1962 document decades earlier and he reported it on 2 May 2001 in Britain’s Guardian under the headline “Memos disclose US cold-war plot to frame Castro”. Ellison wrote that “The idea was an element in a wider scheme that ‘may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US government’, asserts James Bamford.” Since Bamford is perhaps the world’s leading journalist and historian who has written about the NSA (books such as his 1983 The Puzzle Palace), for even him to have expressed surprise in 2001 that the US Government, at its top level, was predominantly staffed by people who were racking their brains to figure out ways to fake Soviet terrorism and attacks so as for the US and NATO to have a pretext to invade the Soviet Union, indicates how much more cynical we all have become after George W. Bush’s lies about ‘Saddam’s WMD’ as pretexts for the US and its collaborators to invade and destroy Iraq in 2003. Not only was John Kennedy surprised to discover it in 1962, but James Bamford was surprised to discover it even as late as 2001. Bamford in 2001 might not have said what he said there if he had seen that 1992 BBC documentary, which showed that the top level of the CIA had been like this from the time when the CIA started in 1947. But with so much history behind us now and which had still been classified information, and thus non-public, until 2001 when Bamford said that the 12 April 1962 document described “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the US Government,” we today are hardly surprised at all to discover it. The corruption at the top of the US Government has long since overflowed its banks, out into the public’s consciousness. Not all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can put the myth of US Government decency together again.

Read More: https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/22/americans-only-now-beginning-learn-that-we-live-dictatorship.html

The U.S. is Not a Democracy, It Never Was

USSA
One of the most steadfast beliefs regarding the United States is that it is a democracy. Whenever this conviction waivers slightly, it is almost always to point out detrimental exceptions to core American values or foundational principles. For instance, aspiring critics frequently bemoan a “loss of democracy” due to the election of clownish autocrats, draconian measures on the part of the state, the revelation of extraordinary malfeasance or corruption, deadly foreign interventions, or other such activities that are considered undemocratic exceptions. The same is true for those whose critical framework consists in always juxtaposing the actions of the U.S. government to its founding principles, highlighting the contradiction between the two and clearly placing hope in its potential resolution.

The problem, however, is that there is no contradiction or supposed loss of democracy because the United States simply never was one. This is a difficult reality for many people to confront, and they are likely more inclined to immediately dismiss such a claim as preposterous rather than take the time to scrutinize the material historical record in order to see for themselves. Such a dismissive reaction is due in large part to what is perhaps the most successful public relations campaign in modern history. What will be seen, however, if this record is soberly and methodically inspected, is that a country founded on elite, colonial rule based on the power of wealth—a plutocratic colonial oligarchy, in short—has succeeded not only in buying the label of “democracy” to market itself to the masses, but in having its citizenry, and many others, so socially and psychologically invested in its nationalist origin myth that they refuse to hear lucid and well-documented arguments to the contrary.

To begin to peel the scales from our eyes, let us outline in the restricted space of this article, five patent reasons why the United States has never been a democracy (a more sustained and developed argument is available in my book, Counter-History of the Present). To begin with, British colonial expansion into the Americas did not occur in the name of the freedom and equality of the general population, or the conferral of power to the people. Those who settled on the shores of the “new world,” with few exceptions, did not respect the fact that it was a very old world indeed, and that a vast indigenous population had been living there for centuries. As soon as Columbus set foot, Europeans began robbing, enslaving and killing the native inhabitants. The trans-Atlantic slave trade commenced almost immediately thereafter, adding a countless number of Africans to the ongoing genocidal assault against the indigenous population. Moreover, it is estimated that over half of the colonists who came to North America from Europe during the colonial period were poor indentured servants, and women were generally trapped in roles of domestic servitude. Rather than the land of the free and equal, then, European colonial expansion to the Americas imposed a land of the colonizer and the colonized, the master and the slave, the rich and the poor, the free and the un-free. The former constituted, moreover, an infinitesimally small minority of the population, whereas the overwhelming majority, meaning “the people,” was subjected to death, slavery, servitude, and unremitting socio-economic oppression.

Second, when the elite colonial ruling class decided to sever ties from their homeland and establish an independent state for themselves, they did not found it as a democracy. On the contrary, they were fervently and explicitly opposed to democracy, like the vast majority of European Enlightenment thinkers. They understood it to be a dangerous and chaotic form of uneducated mob rule. For the so-called “founding fathers,” the masses were not only incapable of ruling, but they were considered a threat to the hierarchical social structures purportedly necessary for good governance. In the words of John Adams, to take but one telling example, if the majority were given real power, they would redistribute wealth and dissolve the “subordination” so necessary for politics. When the eminent members of the landowning class met in 1787 to draw up a constitution, they regularly insisted in their debates on the need to establish a republic that kept at bay vile democracy, which was judged worse than “the filth of the common sewers” by the pro-Federalist editor William Cobbett. The new constitution provided for popular elections only in the House of Representatives, but in most states the right to vote was based on being a property owner, and women, the indigenous and slaves—meaning the overwhelming majority of the population—were simply excluded from the franchise. Senators were elected by state legislators, the President by electors chosen by the state legislators, and the Supreme Court was appointed by the President. It is in this context that Patrick Henry flatly proclaimed the most lucid of judgments: “it is not a democracy.” George Mason further clarified the situation by describing the newly independent country as “a despotic aristocracy.”

When the American republic slowly came to be relabeled as a “democracy,” there were no significant institutional modifications to justify the change in name. In other words, and this is the third point, the use of the term “democracy” to refer to an oligarchic republic simply meant that a different word was being used to describe the same basic phenomenon. This began around the time of “Indian killer” Andrew Jackson’s presidential campaign in the 1830s. Presenting himself as a ‘democrat,’ he put forth an image of himself as an average man of the people who was going to put a halt to the long reign of patricians from Virginia and Massachusetts. Slowly but surely, the term “democracy” came to be used as a public relations term to re-brand a plutocratic oligarchy as an electoral regime that serves the interest of the people or demos. Meanwhile, the American holocaust continued unabated, along with chattel slavery, colonial expansion and top-down class warfare.

In spite of certain minor changes over time, the U.S. republic has doggedly preserved its oligarchic structure, and this is readily apparent in the two major selling points of its contemporary “democratic” publicity campaign. The Establishment and its propagandists regularly insist that a structural aristocracy is a “democracy” because the latter is defined by the guarantee of certain fundamental rights (legal definition) and the holding of regular elections (procedural definition). This is, of course, a purely formal, abstract and largely negative understanding of democracy, which says nothing whatsoever about people having real, sustained power over the governing of their lives. However, even this hollow definition dissimulates the extent to which, to begin with, the supposed equality before the law in the United States presupposes an inequality before the law by excluding major sectors of the population: those judged not to have the right to rights, and those considered to have lost their right to rights (Native Americans, African-Americans and women for most of the country’s history, and still today in certain aspects, as well as immigrants, “criminals,” minors, the “clinically insane,” political dissidents, and so forth). Regarding elections, they are run in the United States as long, multi-million dollar advertising campaigns in which the candidates and issues are pre-selected by the corporate and party elite. The general population, the majority of whom do not have the right to vote or decide not to exercise it, are given the “choice”—overseen by an undemocratic electoral college and embedded in a non-proportional representation scheme—regarding which member of the aristocratic elite they would like to have rule over and oppress them for the next four years. “Multivariate analysis indicates,” according to an important recent study by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page, “that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. The results provide substantial support for theories of Economic-Elite Domination […], but not for theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy.”

To take but a final example of the myriad ways in which the U.S. is not, and has never been, a democracy, it is worth highlighting its consistent assault on movements of people power. Since WWII, it has endeavored to overthrow some 50 foreign governments, most of which were democratically elected. It has also, according the meticulous calculations by William Blum in America’s Deadliest Export: Democracy, grossly interfered in the elections of at least 30 countries, attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders, dropped bombs on more than 30 countries, and attempted to suppress populist movements in 20 countries. The record on the home front is just as brutal. To take but one significant parallel example, there is ample evidence that the FBI has been invested in a covert war against democracy. Beginning at least in the 1960s, and likely continuing up to the present, the Bureau “extended its earlier clandestine operations against the Communist party, committing its resources to undermining the Puerto Rico independence movement, the Socialist Workers party, the civil rights movement, Black nationalist movements, the Ku Klux Klan, segments of the peace movement, the student movement, and the ‘New Left’ in general” (Cointelpro: The FBI’s Secret War on Political Freedom, p. 22-23). Consider, for instance, Judi Bari’s summary of its assault on the Socialist Workers Party: “From 1943-63, the federal civil rights case Socialist Workers Party v. Attorney General documents decades of illegal FBI break-ins and 10 million pages of surveillance records. The FBI paid an estimated 1,600 informants $1,680,592 and used 20,000 days of wiretaps to undermine legitimate political organizing.” In the case of the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (AIM)—which were both important attempts to mobilize people power to dismantle the structural oppression of white supremacy and top-down class warfare—the FBI not only infiltrated them and launched hideous smear and destabilization campaigns against them, but they assassinated 27 Black Panthers and 69 members of AIM (and subjected countless others to the slow death of incarceration). If it be abroad or on the home front, the American secret police has been extremely proactive in beating down the movements of people rising up, thereby protecting and preserving the main pillars of white supremacist, capitalist aristocracy.

Rather than blindly believing in a golden age of democracy in order to remain at all costs within the gilded cage of an ideology produced specifically for us by the well-paid spin-doctors of a plutocratic oligarchy, we should unlock the gates of history and meticulously scrutinize the founding and evolution of the American imperial republic. This will not only allow us to take leave of its jingoist and self-congratulatory origin myths, but it will also provide us with the opportunity to resuscitate and reactivate so much of what they have sought to obliterate. In particular, there is a radical America just below the surface of these nationalist narratives, an America in which the population autonomously organizes itself in indigenous and ecological activism, black radical resistance, anti-capitalist mobilization, anti-patriarchal struggles, and so forth. It is this America that the corporate republic has sought to eradicate, while simultaneously investing in an expansive public relations campaign to cover over its crimes with the fig leaf of “democracy” (which has sometimes required integrating a few token individuals, who appear to be from below, into the elite ruling class in order to perpetuate the all-powerful myth of meritocracy). If we are astute and perspicacious enough to recognize that the U.S. is undemocratic today, let us not be so indolent or ill-informed that we let ourselves be lulled to sleep by lullabies praising its halcyon past. Indeed, if the United States is not a democracy today, it is in large part due to the fact that it never was one. Far from being a pessimistic conclusion, however, it is precisely by cracking open the hard shell of ideological encasement that we can tap into the radical forces that have been suppressed by it. These forces—not those that have been deployed to destroy them—should be the ultimate source of our pride in the power of the people.

The Government Is Still the Enemy of Freedom

“Rights aren’t rights if someone can take them away. They’re privileges. That’s all we’ve ever had in this country, is a bill of temporary privileges. And if you read the news even badly, you know that every year the list gets shorter and shorter. Sooner or later, the people in this country are gonna realize the government … doesn’t care about you, or your children, or your rights, or your welfare or your safety… It’s interested in its own power. That’s the only thing. Keeping it and expanding it wherever possible.”— George Carlin

My friends, we’re being played for fools.

On paper, we may be technically free.

In reality, however, we are only as free as a government official may allow.

We only think we live in a constitutional republic, governed by just laws created for our benefit.

Truth be told, we live in a dictatorship disguised as a democracy where all that we own, all that we earn, all that we say and do—our very lives—depends on the benevolence of government agents and corporate shareholders for whom profit and power will always trump principle. And now the government is litigating and legislating its way into a new framework where the dictates of petty bureaucrats carry greater weight than the inalienable rights of the citizenry.

We’re in trouble, folks.

Freedom no longer means what it once did.

This holds true whether you’re talking about the right to criticize the government in word or deed, the right to be free from government surveillance, the right to not have your person or your property subjected to warrantless searches by government agents, the right to due process, the right to be safe from soldiers invading your home, the right to be innocent until proven guilty and every other right that once reinforced the founders’ belief that this would be “a government of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Not only do we no longer have dominion over our bodies, our families, our property and our lives, but the government continues to chip away at what few rights we still have to speak freely and think for ourselves.

If the government can control speech, it can control thought and, in turn, it can control the minds of the citizenry.

The unspoken freedom enshrined in the First Amendment is the right to think freely and openly debate issues without being muzzled or treated like a criminal.

In other words, if we no longer have the right to tell a Census Worker to get off our property, if we no longer have the right to tell a police officer to get a search warrant before they dare to walk through our door, if we no longer have the right to stand in front of the Supreme Court wearing a protest sign or approach an elected representative to share our views, if we no longer have the right to protest unjust laws by voicing our opinions in public or on our clothing or before a legislative body—no matter how misogynistic, hateful, prejudiced, intolerant, misguided or politically incorrect they might be—then we do not have free speech.

Read More: www.rutherford.org/publications_resources/john_whiteheads_commentary/the_government_is_the_enemy_of_freedom