Wednesday, March 26, 2008

America’s Ruling Clique

America’s Ruling Clique

By Charles Sullivan

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N
eoconservatives derive much of their political strength from the portrayal of big government as the enemy of the people: a belief that plays only too well in America. Big government is indeed the enemy of the people when it does not serve the people’s interests, or when it betrays them.

Where the neoconservatives and the chicken hawks have been spectacularly successful is in the field of perception management. The super rich—or the ruling clique—constitutes no more than 0.1 percent of the US population. Yet they control the mainstream media, every branch government, the electoral process and the country’s major financial institutions.

Thus, 99.9 percent of the people are being manipulated and cannibalized by a tiny but powerful minority. It is the interests of this powerful minority that are served by government and it is their interests that are defined as the national interest or as national security; and it is hardly benign. Robbing the poor to pay the rich causes irreparable harm to the victim.

There is a continual conflict between the super rich and the remaining 99.9 percent of the people in this nation. Not only is democracy subverted when a tiny minority rules over a large majority, the majority is diminished and betrayed, and social and economic servitude is instituted. The relationship is not only adversarial; it is fundamentally unequal and unjust. You have a situation where a large majority suffers all of the hardships and makes all of the sacrifices but the small minority reaps the reward, without incurring any risk themselves. One should never call this intolerable and immoral situation a democracy.

Through subversion, coercion, and intense perception management the ownership class always gets what it wants, and almost always at the expense of the working class. We pay the price and someone else reaps the financial reward.

Consider, for example, the invasion and occupation of Iraq by the United States military and who has benefited financially. The military, comprised almost entirely of working class women and men, is being used to secure Iraq’s nationalized oil fields and turning them over to private firms and foreign investors. Those firms have profited from the theft of Iraqi oil by the United States armed forces without running any risks themselves.

The armed forces ran the risks for them, and turned the profits over to private oil companies who subsequently realized record profits. The entire country has been similarly privatized by a host of corporate predators. War is a form of corporate welfare cloaked in patriotic language. One need only follow the money to understand what it is really about.

Similarly, George Bush is not fighting a war against terrorism as he purports: he is committing unconscionable acts of terrorism against innocent people, and his cohorts in congress are providing him the funds to do so. It is not Islamic terrorists that are spying on law-abiding citizens and intercepting their emails or tapping their phone lines; it is the United States government, authorized by Bush.

The president behaves like a fascist dictator because he is a fascist dictator representing the interests of the ruling clique, while masquerading as a protectorate of the people and the national interest. Never lose sight of the fact that Bush is an emissary for the ruling class to which he belongs and it is on their behalf that he is acting, not ours.

Consider also the fact that thousands of no bid contracts were awarded to private corporations with connections to the Bush White House—such as Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater during the occupation of Iraq. Thus, it is evident that terms such as free trade and free markets are not only misleading, they are disingenuous and fraudulent.

Not only is the ruling clique stealing the wealth of other nations through overt militarism, they are simultaneously bankrupting our nation’s economy. Their intent is to privatize government in hopes of changing it from a service oriented entity into a for profit body. Their goal is to eliminate all social spending in order to further facilitate the ruling clique’s personal wealth creation, and to finance future military invasions; to impose capitalism on the world by means of brute force and coercion.

If they are successful, those with enough money to buy services that are now provided by the government will continue to enjoy those services. Those who cannot afford to pay: the poor, the elderly, the sick or injured, the unemployed and uneducated, will just have to suffer and die. They will be forced to subsist on whatever they can beg, barrow, or steal and slip into the realm of non-persons. It is worth noting that the infrastructure for delivering those goods and services were created with public funds. As always, we are talking about socializing costs and privatizing profits.

Paradoxically, neoconservatives and their media cohorts have succeeded in persuading working class people of modest incomes, conservative and liberal alike, into supporting a wide range of policies that are detrimental to their class, especially those with the lowest incomes.

That is the role that neoconservative icons like Rush Limbaugh plays in the corporate propaganda apparatus. While actually part of the ruling clique, Limbaugh has persuaded his followers that he and his economic brethren are on their side. In reality, Limbaugh and his class are preying upon the fears and prejudices of his followers while accruing tremendous personal wealth from their support, much like George Bush. Such is the power of disinformation, fear, and propaganda.

Limbaugh’s mindless blathering is like the kiss of Judas. He and his kind are impervious to scientific fact and without empathy for the people they so ruthlessly exploit.

Leaving no economic stone unturned, the ruling clique is even privatizing the military. The average soldier assigned the rank of private first class receives a yearly salary of about $40,000; whereas a mercenary working for Blackwater—a private defense contractor—doing the same job in the same place, earns about $400,000. The mercenary soldier costs tax payers ten times more than the government soldier for the same services and is not accountable to anyone.

The privatization of the military began under former Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, and it continues to this day. Private contractors have such close ties with government these days that it is difficult to tell where the private sector ends and government begins. There are revolving doors that continuously sweep corporate executives into government and government officials into corporate board rooms. That is how fortunes are made in Washington: through crony capitalism and theft.

Rumsfeld, a man who sanctions torture, has long deified Milton Friedman, of the Chicago School of Economics; and it is Friedman’s economic and social theories that are being put into practice. Lest anyone think that the disciples of capitalism are limited to the neocons, they aren’t. Every contending presidential candidate is a Friedman disciple. The president, his entire cabinet, and virtually every member of congress are disciples of Milton Friedman; and that is why voting does not often significantly change policies: the ideology behind them remains the same, regardless of who is in power.

That is where this country is heading but most Americans are sitting on their hands and allowing it to happen. The people need to know what is being done to them and who is responsible. We the people must organize and mobilize to protect ourselves from the ruling cabal or we will be forever cannibalized by them.

Like it or not, we are all in this together and long term survival will depend upon our ability to organize and to cooperate with one another. It will require long term economic boycotts, strikes, work slow downs, dramatically curtailed consumption, civil disobedience, sustained protests, self-education and personal sacrifice. The key is to get organized as quickly as possible.

Charles Sullivan is a nature photographer, free-lance writer, and activist residing in the Ridge and Valley Province of West Virginia. He welcomes your comments at csullivan@phreego.com.

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