Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Choose your elections wisely

So, you’re planning to be a responsible American on Election Day and cast your vote.  Fine, but ask yourself why.   Is it any more than a ritual?  Is the engine of government something you can control through elections you don’t control?   Do you think if you put a voice for liberty in the Oval Office that voice would last long?  Are any of the candidates even selling liberty?  Are you looking to buy it, or do you just want in on the scam?

Further, what would motivate an institution — government — which is fundamentally anti-liberty to surrender any of its power?  Government has been for sale to the highest bidders for a long time.  Nothing gets changed without their approval.  Are you one of those highest bidders?  Probably not.

On November 22, 1963, when Lee Harvey Oswald declared himself a patsy in the murder of President John F. Kennedy, he provided a clue about the power center of this country.  It isn’t the president, it isn’t Congress or the Court.  It most definitely is not the voters.

Boston Globe journalist Jordan Michael Smith explains:
Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, [political scientist Michael] Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy. (emphasis added)
How did this “double government” come about?

William Norman Grigg provides a summary:
Following World War II, there was no general demobilization in the United States — something that had never happened before in the nation’s history. In 1947, Congress passed the National Security Act, which created the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, and created the framework for a permanent, globe-spanning military establishment under the aegis of what was now called the Department of Defense. Five years later, the National Security Agency, which originated as the US Army’s Cipher Bureau and Military Intelligence Branch in World War I, was given institutional permanence as well. 
These initiatives grew out of the open-ended Cold War conflict with the Soviet Union, which was described as a crisis of sufficient magnitude to justify putting the United States on a permanent war footing.
The National Security State 
During the 1950s, under the direction of Allen Dulles, the CIA coordinated “extremely bloody coups throughout the world,” writes Ben Terrall, in a review of David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government.  If overthrowing governments sounds made to order for Nazis, you would be correct.  Terrall, quoting Talbot, writes:
Like many convicted Nazi criminals in the early Cold War years, a number of the Nuremberg defendants sentenced to prison were later the beneficiaries of politically motivated interventions and early releases; few of the many thousand convicted Nazis were still in prison after 1953. A number of those interventions on behalf of fortunate war criminals could be traced to the quiet stratagems of Allen Dulles.
Allen and his brother John, who served as Secretary of State, “used the Cold War to protect the interests of their law firm’s clients, and they used it to enhance the power and budgets associated with their high positions in government,” writes Paul Craig Roberts.  
Whenever a reformist democratic government appeared in Latin America the Dulles brothers saw it as a threat to the holdings that their law firm’s clients had in that country. These holdings, sometimes acquired with bribes to nondemocratic governments, diverted the country’s resources and wealth into American hands, and that is the way the Dulles brothers intended to keep it. The reformist government would be declared Marxist or Communist, and the CIA and State Department would work together to overthrow it and place back in power a dictator in bed with Washington. 
The Cold War was pointless except for the Dulles brothers’ interests and those of the military/security complex. The Soviet government, unlike the US government today, had no world hegemonic aspirations. Stalin had declared “Socialism in one country” and purged the Trotskyists, the advocates of world revolution. 
Peace with communists?  A national security threat
At the time of JFK’s assassination French reporter Jean Daniel, acting as an emissary for the president, was in Cuba conducting private peace negotiations.  But the CIA already knew what needed to be done about Kennedy.   

Over the final months of JFK’s presidency [Talbot writes], a clear consensus took shape within America’s deep state: Kennedy was a national security threat. For the good of the country, he must be removed. And Dulles was the only man with the stature, connections, and decisive will to make something of this enormity happen. He had already assembled a killing machine overseas. Now he prepared to bring it home to Dallas.

Jacob Hornberger, in The CIA, Terrorism, and the Cold War: The Evil of the National Security State, addresses the issue of national security and what it has cost not just Americans but people everywhere:
Four separate amendments in the Bill of Rights address the power of the federal government to take people, both Americans and foreigners, into custody and to inflict harm on them: the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth Amendments. Due process of law, right to counsel, grand-jury indictments, trial by jury, search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishments, bail, speedy trial — they are all expressly addressed, reflecting how important they were to our American ancestors and to their concept of a free society. 
In the age of national security, all of those protections have been rendered moot. They have all been trumped by the concept of national security. 
Ironically, the term isn’t even found in the Constitution. One searches in vain for some grant of power anywhere in that document relating to “national security.”
One also searches it vain for a precise definition of “national security.”  It is, as Hornberger says, “whatever the government says it is.”  It’s at once nonsense and the most important term in our lives.
One of the most fascinating aspects of all this is how successful the government has been in convincing Americans of two things: that all this is necessary to keep them safe and, at the same time, that America has continued to be a free country notwithstanding the fact that the government has acquired and has exercised totalitarian powers in order to preserve national security. . . .
When Americans read that the Soviet government rounded up its own people and sent them into the Gulag, they recoil against the exercise of such totalitarian powers. . . . 
But when the U.S. government does such things or even just claims the authority to do them — in the name of national security — the mindset of the average American automatically shifts. . .
The main components of the national security establishment, he tells us, are the military-industrial complex and the CIA.  
They are the entities that enforce the sanctions and embargoes and engage in the invasions, occupations, regime-change operations, coups, assassinations, torture, indefinite incarcerations, renditions, partnerships with totalitarian regimes, and executions — all in the name of “national security.”
The national security establishment is the godfather of what Doug Casey refers to as the Deep State, which “is a real, but informal, structure that has arisen to not just profit from, but control, the State.”
The Deep State has a life of its own, like the government itself. It’s composed of top-echelon employees of a dozen Praetorian agencies, like the FBI, CIA, and NSA…top generals, admirals, and other military operatives…long-term congressmen and senators…and directors of important regulatory agencies. 
But Deep State is much broader than just the government. It includes the heads of major corporations, all of whom are heavily involved in selling to the State and enabling it. That absolutely includes Silicon Valley, although those guys at least have a sense of humor, evidenced by their “Don’t Be Evil” motto. It also includes all the top people in the Fed, and the heads of all the major banks, brokers, and insurers. Add the presidents and many professors at top universities, which act as Deep State recruiting centers…all the top media figures, of course…and many regulars at things like Bohemian Grove and the Council on Foreign Relations. They epitomize the status quo, held together by power, money, and propaganda.
The free market versus the State

We hear a lot of talk about how good democracy is.  But is it?  What’s the distinction between political democracy and what has been called market democracy?  Government is bureaucratic.  It promotes “the leveling of the governed,” or as Gary North puts it, 
"the flattening of the voters." They are flat on their bellies. The bureaucrats walk over them. 
On the free or even semi-free market companies have to answer to their customers.  Those that don’t, including the Big Boys, find themselves in trouble.  North writes:
Kodak's executives refused to develop digital cameras because they feared that the new cameras would destroy their business. They feared cannibalizing their own company. But as Steve Jobs famously said, "If you don't cannibalize yourself, someone else will."  
Kodak declared bankruptcy in 2012.

Then there’s the famous case of IBM.  Personal computers?  They were toys, distractions for the little people.  Fancy calculators at best.  The IBM PC sold well in the early eighties, but the company balked at supporting newer chips.  Compaq didn’t, and snatched the PC market lead from IBM.  As North tells us, “IBM finally sold its PC line to China in 2005: Lenovo.”

Governments, of course, work differently than markets.  They are not subject to market forces of profit and loss.  Government's revenue stream is theft.  As government bureaucracies manifest their incompetence and/or corruption, they become eligible for new management and bigger budgets.   Recall Katrina and FEMA.

This is the heart of the matter.  The market, we’re told, is evil, powered by selfish impulses of survival and profit.  Never mind that under a system of property rights this creates an Invisible Hand that promotes peace, prosperity and harmony.  Government, we’re forever reminded, is good, has only the best intentions as it forever makes life worse, leaving us with perpetual wars, debt and divisiveness. 

Election Day for presidents comes every four years.  “Elections” on the market are around-the-clock affairs.  “The free market is a genuine democracy that offers all the benefits supposedly found in democratic political systems without their drawbacks,” says Matt McCaffrey.  I strongly recommend reading his article.

Go ahead and vote but choose your elections wisely. 

No comments:

Living with the Exponential - I

Before the middle of this century, the growth rates of our technology— which will be indistinguishable from ourselves— will be so steep as t...