Why do we tolerate such a corrupt, undemocratic, exploitive, elite-dominated system? . . . Isn’t it obvious that we need an alternative economic system that isn’t controlled by corporations, the government, and the central bank for the exclusive benefit of insiders and elites? — Charles Huge Smith
The USA presents us with the Acquiescence Paradox. Unlike such weak aspiring “democracies” as Guatemala or Thailand, no external power forcibly stops the American people from curbing oligarchic excesses.
- How then did the oligarchs manage to steadily increase their share of power and wealth?
- How did they gradually rob the vast majority of the world’s people of their possessions and liberties, submerging them in never-ending streams of lies, poisons, debts, and wars, while eroding the biological foundations of life itself?
- Why don’t the people vote for their convictions and interests?
- Why do Americans fail to adopt a Swiss-style political system, and thereby save money and live five more years?
- Why do Americans consent to policies that set their country and the world on a collision course with nature — even though nature bats last?
- Why do they permit their rulers to engage in a reckless policy of nuclear brinkmanship that might lead to the radioactive incineration of their country?
- Why do they parrot their government’s outrageous lies about unemployment,[2[ inflation,[3[ war spending,[4[ gold holdings — and everything else?
This article argues that oligarchic power in America can be traced to sixteen or more mutually-supporting pillars.
For the most part, this article is based on the just-published Encyclopedia of Domestic Assassinations (available at no cost here), and on my forthcoming book (2022), Eight Billion Cheers for Direct Democracy. A briefer—but more entertaining—video version of this article is available here.
First Pillar of American “Democracy:” Sunshine bribery
It’s often cheaper to buy a legislator than a second-hand car. — Eric Margolisi
In the USA, bribery is palpably institutionalized. Oligarchs buy politicians, judges (directly or indirectly), intellectuals, medical experts, and officials by financing elections and re-elections, selective hiring and firing, lavishing perks, and providing favorable media and scholarly coverage. Once out of office, retroactive bribery comes into play via lucrative speaking tours, book contracts, and job offers.
Money also serves to keep wavering politicians in line. If they don’t prostitute themselves, a more compliant candidate can be found and, in the next elections, given at least five times as big a campaign chest as her opponent’s.
So, for instance, when any congresswoman casts a vote on any given issue, she must choose: Go along with the bankers, oilmen, drug purveyors, genocide perpetrators, and the manufacturers of killing machines — or face the almost-certain prospects of being kicked out of congress (and if that fails to work, get the silent or smearing treatment in the media, get framed for a crime she did not commit, or get killed if none of the above works and she becomes influential). Such is the reality of representative “democracy.”
Obviously, anyone decent enough to refuse to take bribes is unlikely to become a president, a congressperson, or a judge. And the few who manage to be elected without accepting bribes, or who switch allegiance from oligarchs to people, will be lucky to just have to pack their bags after the very next elections.
“I’d rather meet [Satan] and shake him by the tail,” said Mark Twain, “than any other statesman on the planet.” But Twain would have cheerfully hobnobbed with Wilbur Beast [shown above] the elected mayor of a small Kentucky community.
Second Pillar of American “Democracy”: Misinformation
If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppression. – Malcolm X
To my knowledge, the most original and thorough book ever to appear on media bias in the United States is Upton Sinclair’s self-published The Brass Check. For reasons that need not concern us here, this book is hardly ever mentioned by dissident media scholars, even though their work and contrived “models” are not nearly as beautifully, courageously, and insightfully written as that 1919 self-published book. Suppression of the truth, presstitution, and bias was almost as dire then as they are today. Here are just a few typical excerpts:
Our newspapers do not represent public interests, but private interests; they do not represent humanity, but property; they value a man, not because he is great, or good, or wise, or useful, but because he is wealthy, or of service to vested wealth.
I was determined to get something done about the Condemned Meat Industry. I was determined to get something done about the atrocious conditions under which men, women, and children were working the Chicago stockyards. In my efforts to get something done, I was like an animal in a cage. The bars of this cage were newspapers, which stood between me and the public; and inside the cage I roamed up and down, testing one bar after another, and finding them impossible to break.
Sinclair also quotes a speech of John Swinton, editor of a major New York newspaper of that era. The occasion is a toast for an independent press.
The audience: Fellow editors:
The business of the New York journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, vilify, fawn at the feet of Mammon, and sell his race and his country for his daily bread. You know this and I know it, and what folly is this to be toasting an “Independent Press.” We are the tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping-jacks; they pull the strings and we dance. Our talents, our possibilities, and our lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.
In the long term, the worst crime of the mass media involves falsifying or commercializing the threat that their corporate masters pose to the biosphere. Here is a summary of a 1999 academic paper, showing the decades-long cover-up of climate disruptions:
This paper examines media coverage of the greenhouse effect. It does so by comparing two pictures. The first picture emerges from reading all 100 greenhouse-related articles published over a five-month period (May–September 1997) in The Christian Science Monitor, New York Times, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Washington Post. The second picture emerges from the mainstream scientific literature. This comparison shows that media coverage of environmental issues suffers from both shallowness and pro-corporate bias.
Oligarchic virtual control of information flows can sometimes lead to truly bizarre outcomes. Here is an example of how oligarchs managed to convince people that ignorance is bliss:
On 6 December 2012, Californians voted on a state-wide referendum known as Proposition 37 (or ‘Prop 37’), which, if passed, would have required genetically modified food to be labeled as such. Initially, support for mandatory GMO labeling ran high. Polling on 15 September 2012 (twelve weeks before the referendum) indicated that 65 percent of voters were in favor of Prop 37 with only 20 percent against. Alarmed at this development, manufacturers of genetically modified seeds, groceries, and pesticides poured their resources into the ‘no’ campaign.
While Prop 37 supporters raised $9.43 million, mainly from health food suppliers and Hollywood celebrities, the ‘no’ campaign reportedly spent up to $1 million publicizing their views every single day, with $46 million spent on television advertising alone over the course of the campaign. Much of this money was used to broadcast misleading claims . . . by the time voting took place on 6 December, Prop 37 was defeated by 53 percent against 47 percent.
Like their journalistic counterparts, experts are hired, promoted, and fired, in part, on the basis of conformity to organizational discipline and goals. The consequences are predictable:
The traditional view of expert opinion is . . . radically mistaken. An expert is traditionally seen as neutral, disinterested, unbiased. . . . On the view proposed here . . . an expert is best seen as a committed advocate. . . . It is notorious that the opinion of an expert . . . can often be predicted from knowledge of which group has his affiliation.
Third Pillar of American “Democracy:” Lack of Transparency
A related aspect of good governance is public access to information: “Democratic institutions can be made to work only if all concerned do their best to impart knowledge.” For instance, “one of the distinguishing features of liberal Athenian [real] democracy is freedom of information.”
We have seen already that, in America, neither the government nor all other mainstream sources of information, “do their best to impart knowledge:”
By now, the corporations that dominate our [U.S.] media, like alcoholic fat cats, treat this situation as theirs by right . . . Their concept of a diversity of views is the full range of politics and social values from center to far right. The American audience, having been exposed to a narrowing range of ideas over the decades, often assumes that what they see and hear in the major media is all there is. It is no way to maintain a lively marketplace of ideas, which is to say it is no way to maintain a democracy.
Fourth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Broken Electoral Promises
There is a vast gap between what a politician or a party promises before an election and what they deliver after. Woodrow Wilson and Franklin Roosevelt, for instance, promised peace but, once elected, perhaps unwillingly, through guile, false-flag operations, and propaganda, led their country to catastrophic wars.
The following quote shows that broken promises are an intrinsic feature of elections in representative republics:
The struggles over finance in the 1780s closely resembled the ones waged against Britain during the 1760s and 1770s. In this new struggle, however, ordinary Pennsylvanians [and Americans] confronted not just a ban on paper money, but an alternative system of finance centered in a powerful private bank — the kind of institution Pennsylvanians of all ranks and classes had united to oppose in 1769. In the 1784 elections, the self-proclaimed reformers swept to victory, transforming the statehouse. . . .
And then they proceeded to break their promises and do nothing to fulfill the pledges they made to the people who elected them. Not wanting the stream of honors and gifts to end, country legislators provided “their Benefactors . . . with their Vote.” They surrendered campaign promises and, instead, cast their ballots as the moneyed men of Philadelphia “shall please to direct them.”
Thousands of broken promises, spanning the entire history of the American republic, show that going back on your word is a vital principle of representative government. That is one reason why the phrase “representative democracy” is a contradiction in terms. The typical power seeker running for office is not interested in truthfulness but in getting elected.
If lying is part of the deal, so be it. And, once she gets elected, in the absence of ongoing built-in recall mechanisms, audits, and access to objective information, she is not accountable to the people who elected her, but to the billionaires who selected her, financed her campaign, and made her a household name.
Fifth Pillar of American “Democracy: The Conspiracy Theory Bogeyman
One of the oligarchs’ most spectacular conspiratorial achievements — and one more pillar supporting their power — is convincing us that they, the lily-white bankers and their allies, never plot against the American people or, for that matter, against anyone else. “Well, yes,” a CIA asset at CBS, or Huntington Post, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, or the Sierra Club might say, “Brutus and Cassius and their fellow oligarchs might have conspired to kill Julius Caesar. And yes, the oligarchs of 50 years ago might have set in motion the Gladio Conspiracy, killing hundreds of innocents.
But all this, you see, happened such a long time ago and hence lacks relevance to the contemporary world. If you believe otherwise, I need not listen to you, consider the evidence, or think. You are an unbalanced tinfoil fanatic, and I am not going to stoop to your half-crazed level.”
Every time I hear an intelligent person utter the disclaimer “I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but . . .” a Bertrand Russel’s refrain runs through my brain: “There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action.”
Perhaps the origins of the term “conspiracy theory” might help us break away from its uncanny spell:
In January 1967, shortly after Jim Garrison in New Orleans had started his prosecution [for the murder of President Kennedy] . . . the CIA published a memo to all its stations, suggesting the use of the term ‘conspiracy theorists’ for everyone criticizing the Warren Report findings. Until then the press and the public mostly used the term ‘assassination theories’ when it came to alternative views of the ‘lone nut’ Lee Harvey Oswald. But with this memo, this changed and very soon ‘conspiracy theories’ became what it is until today: A term to smear, denounce and defame anyone who dares to speak about any crime committed by the state, military or intelligence services.
It goes without saying that if you buy the conspiracy theory mumbo jumbo, you cannot even begin to undo the enormous damage wreaked by conspiracies on yourself, your nation, and humanity. By rejecting in principle the existence of conspiracies, the Conspiracy Bogeyman offers us a false shortcut to the truth. In the real world though, only a laborious rational analysis of facts and circumstances can cast light on the probability of any given conspiratorial claim.
Sixth Pillar of American “Democracy: The Inculcated Non-Violence Creed
In the 18th century, most Americans would have probably agreed with Thomas Jefferson that “the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” Needless to say, from the outset and following perhaps their Roman idols, America’s oligarchs well knew that the only real threat to their rule was a strategically-executed violent uprising, an uprising that, among other things, would have targeted them personally.
So they cynically convinced the majority of decent people everywhere that it’s OK for them, the oligarchs, to murder and poison millions and destroy the very foundations of life on earth, but that it is immoral for their victims to save billions of lives, to save freedom, decency, and justice, to save life itself, by giving these marauders a tiny bit of their own blood-soaked medicine.
I couldn’t find statistical proof, but I do feel that most Americans — unwilling yet to see that their country is an oligarchy — would probably accept the “bedrock principle,” that “the right to revolutionary violence does not apply in a democracy.”i
Numerous lovers of peace, justice, and freedom, reluctantly endorsed violent revolutions. Here again is Thomas Jefferson:
What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.
Jefferson’s views are likewise shared by thoughtful ethicists. Dietrich Bonhoeffer felt that there were situations where “guilt” becomes unavoidable and to elude it was synonymous with narcissistic attachment to one’s own putative purity and a cowardly flight from personal responsibility. “On the basis of this conviction, the great Christian theologian conspired in organizing an assassination attempt on Hitler (and then faced hanging).”
Reinhold Niebuhr, another theologian, wrote:
The middle classes and the rational moralists, who have a natural abhorrence of violence, may be right in their general thesis; but they are wrong in their assumption that violence is intrinsically immoral.
The historical record likewise discredits the non-violence myth. Non-violence got Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. killed and in the long run, accomplished less than nothing. As we speak, thousands of environmentalists all over the world are heroically carrying on non-violent battles to save the biosphere, accomplishing here and their small victories but overall losing the war — and at times losing their lives too.
Seventh Pillar of American “Democracy:” Leading, Infiltrating, and Co-Opting the Opposition
Co-option incorporates Lenin’s alleged dictum that “the best way to control the opposition is to lead it.” Indeed, case-by-case studies show that most so-called reform organizations, alternative media outlets, and leading dissidents in the USA have gradually been taken over by the oligarchs.
The oligarchs’ co-option strategy is comprised of concentric circles. At the top of the control pyramid, there is probably a handful of oligarchs directing government, schools, media, the medical profession, publishing industries, organized religion, spooks, and the military.
The next level consists of a variety of non-governmental organizations or “Foundations” with such fancy names as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, often operated by second-tier oligarchs. It doesn’t take much to figure out that such funds and movements serve the oligarchs’ goals. Whatever philanthropy they are engaged in is merely a cover for their real goal: Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day.
The next layer consists of organizations like Amnesty International, Sierra Club, Common Cause, or the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Some of these organizations were created to deceive. Others started as genuine movements for progress but were gradually corrupted by the money boys and by the tendency of corruptible blackguards to rise to the top in any organization where real democracy is absent. Most supporters and even insiders of such organizations are sincere and genuinely seek reform and have no idea that their beloved outfit had been subverted. Even some leaders of such groups might mistakenly believe that the only way to repair the system is to work within it.
Several signs betray these organizations’ subverted state: Moderate goals and views, compartmentalization, sources of funding, salaries of their top officers, bureaucratic stagnation, commitment to working within the system, and steadfast adherence to strategies that are obviously failing.
Fake media organizations play a particularly important role in this macabre American scenario, as we noted earlier. It doesn’t take much to figure out that the Guardian or Nation or Mother Jones have sold out long ago. But as you move along, some of the co-opted and paid-for media outlets appear genuinely radical. These outlets are promoted by the oligarchs in an effort to keep the lid on the opposition. Their task is to daily expose the crimes of governments and corporations, but to avoid the real burning questions: Which specific individuals control Western governments?
What goals should the reform movement set for itself? What really happened on September 11, 2001? Where did the Coronavirus come from and was it really necessary to put the world’s people under house arrest for years — thereby indirectly causing many more injuries and deaths than the virus had?
A delightful variation is provided by dissident outlets that mix, in the same breath, real conspiracies with patently-false conspiracies, e.g., our rulers are reptiles, nuclear weapons do not exist. By presenting the two types of conspiracies side by side, such outlets discredit the real ones.
The last concentric circle consists of individual dissidents. As in the case of co-opted organizations, there are many tell-tale signs that betray such sell-outs or compartmentalized fools: Where do they get their money? Are they leading a life of luxury? Do the corporate media acknowledge or ignore them? Did they die prematurely or spend much time in prison? Do they scoff at precisely the things that might wake the people up, e.g., suggestions to abolish the Federal Reserve, re-investigate 9/11, or deaths of such well-known figures as five Kennedys, Martin Luther King, or Michael Hastings?
Do these “dissidents” subscribe to the fiction of three branches of government or do they explicitly recognize the existence of puppeteers behind the scenes? Do they talk about the likes of Obama, Biden, or Johnson as the center of real power — or about the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, the British royal family, or the Vatican? Do they see that the present system, by its very nature, undermines morality, freedom, justice, peace, and human survival?
Do they urge people to vote or revolt? Do they ever come forward with practical ways of overthrowing the system, or do they confine themselves to such palliatives as organizing and working within the system?
Here is one example of co-option in action:
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists emerged after World War II as a voice for peace by some of the scientists who developed the then ultimate weapon of mass destruction. Now, its mission has drifted into being an echo chamber for the US imperial project . . .
The Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock, unveiled in 1947, was set at seven minutes to midnight. The clock was intended as an educational tool to serve “as a vivid symbol of these multiplying perils, its hands showing how close to extinction we are.” Today, the risk of nuclear annihilation, not to mention global warming and other threats, has never been greater, according to the Bulletin’s Doomsday Clock. But the Bulletin has morphed from an advocate for peace and against other threats to humanity to something else.
From an organization run by scientists, the current governing board of the Bulletin has hardly a scientist in sight. . . .The Bulletin maintains a liberal façade and still publishes articles that contribute to peace and environmentalism. In that way, its role in collusion with the US imperial project is insidious, because the patina of peace is used to legitimize its mission drift. . . . Yes, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists’ Doomsday Clock is now 100 seconds to midnight, and they are trying to push it closer to Armageddon. . . . Instead of supporting peaceful measures . . . the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has become a cheerleader for Washington.
Eighth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Compartmentalization
The modern world deliberately creates specialists, men and women who might be competent in one or two fields, but who are in the dark about all the others. Such narrow specialists cannot possibly understand the world in all its complexity and hence can be readily manipulated. Herman Daly put it this way:
Probably the major disservice that experts provide in confronting the problems of mankind is dividing the problem into little pieces and parceling them out to specialists. . . . Although it is undeniable that each specialty has much of importance to say, it is very doubtful that the sum of all these specialized utterances will ever add to a coherent solution because the problems are not independent and sequential but highly interrelated and simultaneous. Someone has to look at the whole, even if it means foregoing full knowledge of all of the parts.i
Of the many episodes which capture our society’s disciplinary dilemma in more personal terms, I should like to relate one. It involves a nuclear weapons scientist who gradually became alienated from his work. His epiphany came in the experience he had in the mid-1980s when visiting the Soviet Union for the first time: Walking in [Moscow’s] Red Square . . . [seeing] so many young people . . . he began to weep uncontrollably. . . . Before that, Moscow had been no more than a set of lines at various levels of rads and pressures and calories per square centimeter that one had to match with the bombs. xxxii
The excuse given by educators and their patrons for this state of affairs is that humanity’s store of knowledge nowadays is too vast to be acquired by a single person. But in this, they are mistaken. One does not need to get a Ph.D. in ecology or history to get the basic outline of both subjects and many others. There are numerous historical examples showing that it is within the reach of any curious person, in the contemporary world, to strive for the unity of knowledge ideal, e.g., Bertrand Russell, Karl Popper, and Aldous Huxley. Isaac Asimov described his escape from the cage of specialization:
I found myself doing research on a biochemical topic. In that area of study, I obtained my Ph.D., and in no time at all, I was teaching biochemistry at a medical school. But even that was too wide a subject. From books to nonfiction, to science, to chemistry, to biochemistry — and not yet enough. The orchard had to be narrowed down further. To do research, I had to find myself a niche within biochemistry, so I began work on nucleic acids. . . .
And at about that point, I rebelled! I could not stand the claustrophobia that clamped down upon me. I looked with horror, backward and forward across the years, at a horizon that was narrowing down and narrowing down to so petty a portion of the orchard. What I wanted was all the orchard, or as much of it as I could cover in a lifetime of running. . . . I have never been sorry for my stubborn advance toward generalization. To be sure, I can’t wander in detail through all the orchard, any more than anyone else can, no matter how stupidly determined I may be to do so. Life is far too short and the mind is far too limited. But I can float over the orchard as in a balloon.
The problem, rather, is systemic. Holistic thinking poses a grave risk to the oligarchs, and therefore it is suppressed. Here are a few examples: The Fulbright Scholar Program has no interdisciplinary category — no interdisciplinary need to apply. It took 35 years for Mendel’s work, which combined statistics and biology, to be noticed. William James felt that “it seems a great pity that as original a man as [philosopher Charles Peirce] . . . should be starved out of a career.” Isaac Asimov came close to being fired from an academic post because he was a generalist. Asimov’s case, however, is not nearly as tragic as Peirce’s: Asimov not only kept his job and managed to find a publisher for his hundreds of fiction and nonfiction books but, twenty-four years later made the grade for full professor.
Indeed, specialists all too often resemble the six blind men of Hindustan, who studied just one part of the elephant, instead of studying the elephant as a whole. The results of narrow specialization are all too obvious:
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
Ninth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Strategic Brilliance
The astounding success of the top, interlinked, U.S./U.K. oligarchs in achieving their goals, such ingenious exploits of theirs as the 1694 creation of the private Bank of England, the deceptively democratic American Constitution, the guileful 1913 creation of the private Federal Reserve, the daring false flags that led to the Mexican-American, Spanish-American, German-American (1917-18), or two Iraqi-American wars, the audacious sinking of the Maine, Titanic, and the World Trade Center, such nearly effortless regime change operations as in Ukraine (2014) or Pakistan (2022), such inventions as nuclear bombs, the internet, the oligarchs’ tenacity, their ingenious assassination program, their patience and habit of long-term planning, their utter ruthlessness, provide perhaps the sturdiest pillar in the Oligarchs’ arsenal. Sadly, not one of their opponents, not one of the movements opposing them, has ever been their strategic equal.
Tenth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Controlled, Manipulated, Trivialized, or Rigged Elections
If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it. — Mark Twain
Politics has become a snake oil world of deception, manipulation and contempt for ordinary people. — Norman Lewis
It was always that way: Laura Gray’s 1945 depiction of American “democracy.”
In a rational world, a candidate’s campaign chest would have little bearing on his electability. This chest’s decisive influence strongly suggests that the American electoral process is a caricature of decency and rationality:
The political merchandisers appeal only to the weaknesses of voters, never to their potential strengths. They make no attempt to educate the masses into becoming fit for self-government; they are content merely to manipulate and exploit them. For this purpose all the resources of psychology and the social sciences are mobilized and set to work. . . . Under the new dispensation, political principles and plans for specific action have come to lose most of their importance. The personality of the candidate and the way he is projected by the advertising experts are the things that really matter. . . . The methods now being used to merchandise the political candidate as though he were a deodorant positively guarantee the electorate against ever hearing the truth about anything.
Joseph Stalin reportedly said: “It is enough that the people know there was an election. The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.” When trivialization, money, cloak-and-dagger techniques, and control of information fail to deliver the desired outcome, rigging provides the oligarchs another safety valve, again making a mockery of ballot-box reformers. According to a mainstream academic study by a major American university, in 2019 the United States ranked 57 in the world in electoral integrity, sandwiched between Lesotho and Oman.
Eleventh Pillar of American “Democracy:” Unchecked Power and the Reign of the psychopaths
The art of nation-making, as of law-making and of institution-building generally, is the art of containing power and ambition so that they act for, rather than against, the common good. The French philosopher Montesquieu put it baldly: “It’s a happy situation if, when we want to act badly, we find it’s not in our interest to do so.” — Ivo Mosley
The commonsense observation above is ignored in the contemporary world. Most political, economic, and even reform organizations on earth are conducive to the rise to power of conscience-less, irresponsible, self-seeking, villains. The willingness of villains to do anything to gain riches and power gives them a tremendous competitive advantage. “In order to get power and retain it,” says Lev Tolstoy, “it is necessary to love power; but the love of power is not connected with goodness but with qualities that are the opposite of goodness, such as pride, cunning, cruelty.” “We must admit to ourselves,” says Michael Krieger, “that there are truly evil geniuses out there, and in most cases, these characters have taken control of the power structure.”
Would a decent person be willing to strike the Faustian bargain involved in becoming a Congresswoman, if that involves accepting bribes from billionaires? If that involved betraying the interests of her fellow citizens or else being removed from office in the next election, and, while still in office, getting smeared and perhaps even incarcerated or killed? No, most decent people do not accept such bargains. So, with some exceptions, the highest echelons of all political and judicial offices, of all countries, and all major, established organizations, are comprised of . . . crooks.
In the USA, then, scoundrels enjoy a tremendous advantage in every sphere. Moreover, betrayal of the public interest typically leads to promotion and riches. No American politician has ever been disgraced for dragging the country into wars that only served oligarchic interests, no one was ever punished for knowingly giving American soldiers the dysfunctional M-16 rifle, no one was ever fined for depleting the Social Security Fund. No one has ever been indicted for lying about inflation in order to rob senior citizens of half their social security payments and inflate GNP statistics, no one but patsies was ever indicted for murdering public-minded influential people, and no one served jail time for knowingly marketing poisons, no one . . . Rather, betrayal of the public interest in America is rewarded and praised.
Moreover, power itself has a corrupting influence on ordinary people.i The only way to address both problems is to curtain the power of any single individual—a feat that can only be accomplished by direct democracy.
iTwelfth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Banking System
Some of the most powerful members of the oligarchy, the ones most responsible for the decay of the USA and the entire world, are top bankers. Although they operate in the shadows, their power is indisputable. Franklin Delano Roosevelt remarked that “a financial element in the large centers has owned the government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.” Andrew Jackson felt that “if the American people only understood the rank injustice of our money and banking system, there would be a revolution before morning.”
What gives bankers such power, to the point that history, even before the creation of the private Bank of England in 1694, is, at least in part, a history of “the people vs. the banks?”
Bankers can legally create money; when they give you a loan, they create that money. Thus, one difference between you and a bank is that a bank can legally create money and you can’t. The central banks of most countries, in particular, create money and lend it to the nation, charging interest. The nation could of course use its own silver or gold or create its own fiat money. But in a representative “democracy,” it’s child play to bribe or blackmail a few powerful people and thus deprive the people of the right to control money creation. At the bottom, this arrangement constitutes a simple transfer of a sizable fraction of a nation’s wealth from the people to private bankers. The government must, by definition, go into debt. To pay this continuously accumulating debt, the people are over-taxed. It is no coincidence that the federal income tax was created shortly after the 1913 creation of the Federal Reserve Cartel.
Michael Hudson explains:
Your ongoing struggle to make ends meet is not a reflection of your lack of talent or drive but the only possible outcome of having a blood-sucking financial leech affixed to your body, your retirement plan, and your economic future.
Ownership of so much money in turn gives top bankers unparalleled powers. Private bankers have used that money to bribe, brainwash, or browbeat most economists — and all other professions that impinge upon their privileges. Those who refuse bribes and are capable of compassion and independent thought, do not get their degrees; if they graduate, they can’t find a job or a publishing outlet; if they do find a job, they are ignored, marginalized, fired, or killed. Bankers likewise have used this money to control politicians, judges, bureaucrats, newspapers, TV stations, internet servers, social media, regulatory agencies — almost everyone and everything.
The fractional reserve scam — which was permitted even when gold and silver were money — allows bankers to lend a lot more money than they have. It can be shown mathematically that, thanks to this particular sleight of hand, in the long run, bankers, could in principle own everything and everyone.
Thirteenth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Environmental Ill-Being
A. In his 1998 Dark Alliance, soon-to-be-suicided Gary Webb proved that the CIA imported drugs to America’s inner cities, thereby converting these cities into gang-infested war zones, creating debilitating drug dependencies, sending millions to America’s Gulag, and reducing the capacity of inner-city residents to fight for a more just world.
B. Under American occupation (2001-2021), Afghanistan had been exporting most of the heroin consumed in the world:
In 2001 [just before the American occupation of Afghanistan], 1,779 Americans were killed as a result of a heroin overdose. By 2016, the number of Americans killed as a result of heroin addiction shot up to 15,446. . . . Those lives would have been saved had the US and its NATO allies NOT invaded and occupied Afghanistan in 2001.
The first thing they did was to undermine the drug eradication program, restore the opium economy and the drug trade. . . . the Pentagon not to mention the CIA which launched the opium economy in Afghanistan in the late 1970s are intent upon protecting this multi-billion-dollar industry.l
C. Fluoride is added to about 70 percent of U.S. public drinking water supplies, even though a sensational Harvard study confirms numerous earlier claims that children in cities where fluoride is added to the water supply have lower I.Q. than children whose water is free of fluoride.
D. The citizens of Flint, Michigan — and of many other cities — were deliberately and deviously poisoned by lead in their drinking water — even though it has been known for centuries that lead is a potent neurotoxin.
E. Mind-altering psychotropic drugs, painkillers, and other injurious substances are routinely prescribed to millions. “No other peaceful population, probably since the 1839 Opium Wars, has been so devastated by a drug epidemic encouraged by a government.”
F. For a long time, mercury had been prevalent in our teeth and vaccines.
G. The air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the oceans and lakes we swim in, and the masks we were forced to wear for two years, often damage our health and weaken our immune system.
H. Besides the active biological ingredient, a typical vaccine may contain a variety of harmful, unnecessary, substances. Consequently, unvaccinated children may be “healthier overall than the vaccinated.”
I. Besides poisons, Americans have been conditioned to consume excessive quantities of sugar, fats, salts, pesticides, and other substances, leading to obesity, heart failure, diabetes, cancer, and other infirmities.
J. At times, the oligarchs’ takeover of disobedient nations not only involves millions of tragedies but also the fiendish poisoning for centuries to come by such poisons as Agent Orange.
Here is one typical illustration:
During 2004, the US military carried out two massive military sieges of the city of Fallujah, using large quantities of DU [depleted uranium] ammunition, as well as white phosphorous.
Official Iraqi government statistics show that, prior to the outbreak of the First Persian Gulf War in 1991, the rate of cancer cases in Iraq was 40 out of 100,000 people . . .
by 2005, it [went up to] 1,600 out of 100,000 people. . . .
Contamination from depleted uranium munitions and other military-related pollution is suspected of causing a sharp rise in congenital birth defects, cancer cases, and other illnesses throughout much of Iraq.
Many doctors and scientists maintain that the recent emergence of diseases that were not previously seen in Iraq, such as new illnesses in the kidney, lungs, and liver, as well as total immune system collapse, are connected to public exposure to war contaminants. Depleted uranium (DU) contamination may also be related to the substantial rise in leukemia, renal, and anemia cases, especially among children. Moreover, there has also been a dramatic jump in miscarriages and premature births among Iraqi women, particularly in areas where heavy US military operations occurred, such as Fallujah.
These isolated examples are just the tip of the toxiberg. There is no question that such a massive attack on our bodies and especially on our nervous system, weakens our capacity to understand the world around us — let alone meaningfully struggle to make it better.
Moreover, the recurrence of poisoning episodes strongly suggests that the attack is deliberate, aimed at financial gains, and perhaps also the physical and mental debilitation of would-be revolutionaries.
Fourteenth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Human Nature
Human beings act in a great variety of irrational ways, but all of them seem to be capable if given a fair chance, of making a reasonable choice in the light of available evidence. — Aldous Huxley
To sustain and augment their riches and power, oligarchs promote and exploit a vast array of human failings. We are obviously not as rational or open-minded as we could be. We seem to enjoy being brainwashed and lack the courage and love of truth that are needed to let go of our implanted false beliefs and habits.lix We often comply and conform and obey when we shouldn’t. We have an infinite appetite for distractions. We are insufficiently altruistic, public-minded, or compassionate. Here is one example (of thousands) of cruelty and spite:
In Lisbon, where heretics were publicly burned, it sometimes happened that one of them, by particularly edifying recantation, would be granted a boon of being strangled before being put into the flames. This would make the spectators so furious that the authorities had great difficulty preventing them from lynching the penitent and burning him on their own account. The spectacle of the writhing torments of the victims was, in fact, one of the principal pleasures to which the populace looked forward.
On the other hand, human beings are also capable of kindness, creativity, generosity, and rational behavior. Genetics might play a role in how these countervailing traits are being played out in each one of us, and so does our rearing. A society that wants less blind obedience to authority, less conformity, less greed, or more refined literary or culinary tastes, could devise an educational and social milieu that would bring it nearer to such goals.
Fifteenth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Compulsory “Education”
American education in the 18th century resembled Athenian education in the 4th century B.C.: private, decentralized, vibrant, and highly successful. In 18th century America:
More citizens were literate under a system where schooling was voluntary and of short duration than ever they have been under the long-term compulsion. . . . From its beginnings, forced schooling represented a big step backward from the exciting free market in learning offered by the bazaar of American life, a market well-illustrated in the lives of Franklin, Jefferson, Farragut, and many others.
This asystematic system of learning put the nation on a road to unparalleled power and wealth. And America’s young responded brilliantly to it, out-inventing and out-trading every . . . world competitor by a country mile.
That great system of education has been deliberately subverted by the Rockefellers and their allies. In 1924, the transformation into compulsory, standardized, dumbing down education was nearly complete, leading H. L. Mencken to the view that the aim of public education is not
to fill the young of the species with knowledge and awaken their intelligence. . . . Nothing could be further from the truth. The aim. . . is simply to reduce as many individuals as possible to the same safe level, to breed and train a standardized citizenry, to put down dissent and originality. That is its aim in the United States . . . and that is its aim everywhere else.
American oligarchs need obedient factory workers, bureaucrats, mercenaries, and CIA/FBI operatives, not people who can think for themselves. Slave owners in America understood that an educated slave posed a threat to them and to the entire system. Likewise, American oligarchs understood that free-thinking workers posed a threat to their privileged position, and so they created an “educational” system that methodically undermined creativity and non-conformity. What we have then is
an educational system deliberately designed to produce mediocre intellects, hamstring the inner life, deny students appreciable leadership skills, and ensure docile and incomplete citizens — all in order to render the populace “manageable.” . . . Under the new system, the goals of good moral values, good citizenship skills, and good personal development were exchanged for a novel fourth purpose — becoming a human resource to be spent by businessmen and politicians. . . . the chief end of the project was “to impose on the young the ideal of subordination. . . .
What of the political nature of schooling which allows. . . to edit out any teaching which might call its own privileges, practices, or beliefs into question?
The school has no choice but to limit free thought and speech to such a profound degree a gulf is opened between the sanctimonious homilies of pedagogy (‘searching for truth’, ‘leveling the playing field’, etc.) and the ugly reality of its practices.
In 1922, New York City Mayor John Hylan
announced that the schools of the city had been seized by “tentacles” of “an invisible government, just as an octopus would seize prey,” a pointed echo of the chilling pronouncement made years earlier by British prime minister Benjamin Disraeli when he claimed that all important events were controlled by an invisible government, of which the public was unaware. The particular octopus Hylan meant was the Rockefeller Foundation.
The system of oppression is not yet universal, and most of us have been exposed in our childhood, to teachers who nurtured our intellectual, spiritual, moral, physical, or artistic proclivities. But these, sadly, are the exceptions, not the rule.
I should also note that this summary of the American “educational” system is entirely in line with my own experiences as a student and educator in that system. Besides the occasional brilliant teacher within the Rockefeller system itself, the only near exceptions I’m familiar with are some small-scale educational outfits, as well as many graduate programs, especially in the natural sciences.
Sixteenth Pillar of American “Democracy:” Cloak and Dagger
If people bring so much courage to this world the world has to kill them . . . . It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially—Ernest Hemingway
To secure more power and riches, American oligarchs often resort to smears, blackmail, bribes, incarcerations, and murders. They do not only silence or murder their influential opponents, but also target any innocent bystander (such as a future witness) who might pose a threat to their power and goals. Also, when it serves their interests, the Controllers are perfectly willing to destroy junior members of their own cabal.
For conclusive proof that American oligarchs routinely smear, harass, kill, or otherwise silence each and every influential opponent, the reader is urged to consult Ward Churchill’s history of the Black Panther Party, as well as The Encyclopedia of Domestic Assassination.
Notes and References
1. Smith, Charles Huge, 2020, “Isn’t it obvious we need a new system?”
2. See Williams, John, Shadow Government Statistics; Salmon, Felix, 2020, “Exclusive: America’s true unemployment rate,” Axios.
3. Shadow Government Statistics.
4. Higgs, Robert, 2007, “The trillion-dollar defense budget is already here,” The Independent.
5. Still, Bill “Fort Knox Gold Scandal,” Green Energy Investors (behind a paywall).
6. Margolis, Eric, 2015, “The best congress money can buy.”
7. Pesce, Nicole Lyn, 2020. “The votes are in, and this French bulldog was elected mayor of a Kentucky town,” MarketWatch.
8. Malcom X, Cited in: Ford, Glenn, 2019, “Malcolm, Russiagate and the FBI,” Black Agenda Report.
9. Sinclair, Upton, 1919, The Brass Check.
10. Nissani, M. 1999, “Media coverage of the greenhouse effect,” Population and Environment: A Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies 21: 27-43.
11. Fuller, Roslyn, 2015, Beasts and Gods: How Democracy Changed its Meaning and Lost its Purpose
12. Collingridge, David, 1980, The Social Control of Technology, pp. 12, 183.
13. Huxley, Aldous, 1958, Brave New World Revisited.
14. Harris, Diane “Freedom of information and accountability: The inventory lists of the Parthenon.” In: Osborne, Robin & Hornblower, Simon, 1994, Ritual, Finance, Politics, p. 214.
15. Bagdikian, Ben, 1987, “The 50, 26, 20 . . . corporations that own our Media.”
16. Bouton, Terry, 2007, Taming Democracy: “The People,” the Founders, and the Troubled Ending of the American Revolution.
17. Nissani, M. “The Gladio Conspiracy.”
18. Nissani, M. “Confessions of a Conspiracy Theorist.”
19. Broeckers, Martin, 2013, “The JFK assassination marked the end of the American republic.”
20. Atwill, Joseph, 2005, Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus.
21. Glavin, Terry, 2020, “America was born in violent protest. But it’s just wrong now,” National Post.
22. Jefferson, Thomas, 1787, letter to William Stephens Smith.
23. Cited in: Losurdo, Domenico, 2015, Non-Violence: A History Beyond the Myth.
24. Nissani, M. “The Co-Option Pillar of American ‘Democracy.’”
25. Nielson, Jeff, 2016, in: “The Mystery of the One Bank: Its Owners?
26. Nissani, M., 2015, “Revolutionary Lessons from Ira Levin’s This Perfect Day.”
27. See Helvarg, David, 2004, War against the Greens.
28. Grant, Bob, 2012, “AAAS: Don’t Label GM Foods,” The Scientist.
29. Nissani, M. 2016, Encyclopedia of Domestic Assassinations.
30. Harris, Roger D., 2022, “With its doomsday clock at 100 seconds to midnight, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists calls for escalating US aggression against Russia,” Global Research.
31. Daly, Herman, 1991, Steady-State Economics, 2nd edition, p. 7.
32. Lifton R. J. & Markusen, E., 1990, The Genocidal Mentality, pp. 273-274.
33. Asimov, Isaac, 1963, View from a Height, p. xi.
34. Yes, I was a Fulbright Scholar, but only because the person in charge of that program personally recruited me.
35. Nissani, 1994, “Psychological, historical, and ethical reflections on the Mendelian paradox.” Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 37: 182-196.
36. Cited in P. P. Wiener (Ed.), 1952, Studies in the philosophy of Charles Sanders Peirce, p. 279.
37. Asimov, I., 1980, In Joy Still Felt, pp. 111, 798; for more extended reviews of holistic scholarship, see 1997, Nissani, M. “Ten Cheers for Interdisciplinarity,” Social Science Journal 34: 201-216; 1995, Nissani, M. “Fruits, Salads, and Smoothies: A Working Definition of Interdisciplinarity,” Journal of Educational Thought 29: 119-126.
39. Lewis, Norman, 2020, “Use of AI & digital ads in politics shows it’s a snake oil world of deception, manipulation & contempt for ordinary people,” R.
40. Huxley, Aldous, 1958, Brave New World Revisited.
41. See for instance, Liptak, Adam, 2012, “Error and Fraud at issue as absentee voting rises,” New York Times; Smith, Yves, 2016,; “Greg Palast on how the New York and US elections are being stolen,” Naked Capitalism; 2020,; “Ex-Green Party candidate Jill Stein wins right to expose possible flaws in Wisconsin voting machines – too little too late,” RT; Widburg, Andrea, 2020, “In 30 states, a computer system known to be defective is tallying votes,” American Thinker, Bernabe, Nick, 2016, “2016: The year Americans found out our elections are rigged,” Antimedia).
42. Norris, Pippa, and Grömping, Max, 2019, “Electoral Integrity Worldwide”.
43. Mosley, Ivo, 2013, In the Name of the People: Pseudo-Democracy and the Spoiling of our World.
44. Tolstoy, Leo, 1894, The Kingdom of God is within You, Chapter X.
45. Krieger, Michael, 2012, “Remember the Words of Joseph Stalin,”
46. Fallows, James, 1981, National Defense, pp. 76-77.
47. Giurge, Laura M. et al. 2021, “Does power corrupt the mind? The influence of power on moral reasoning and self-interested behavior,” The Leadership Quarterly, vol. 32.
48. For sources and many other similar quotes, see Nissani, M. 2015, “People versus the Banks.”
49. Paraphrased in Martens, Pam, 2015, “Michael Hudson’s new book: Wall Street parasites have devoured their hosts — your retirement plan and the U.S. economy,” Wall Street on Parade.
50. Chossudovsky, Michel, 2020, “War is good for business and organized crime: Afghanistan’s multibillion dollar opium trade. Rising heroin addiction in the US,” Global Research.
51. Cited in: 2012, “Impact of fluoride on neurological development in children”.
52. “Fluoride & IQ: 67 Studies”.
53. Moore, Michael, “Letter to Michigan Governor”
54. 1786, “Benjamin Franklin’s letter on lead poisoning to Benjamin Vaughan,” Environmental Education Associates. For a more detailed review of deadly American experiments on children and others, see Kennedy, Robert F. Jr., 2021, The Real Anthony Fauci.
55. Petras, James and Eastman-Abaya, Robin, 2016, “Genocide by prescription: “The ‘natural history’ of the declining white working class in America,” The James Petras Website.
56. Lyons-Weiler, James and Thomas, Paul, 2020, “Relative incidence of office visits and cumulative rates of billed diagnoses along the axis of vaccination,” Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
57. 2015, “Iraq to sue US over use of depleted uranium weapons: Official,” Tashim News Agency.
58. Huxley, Aldous, 1958, Brave New World Revisited.
59. Nissani, M. & Hoefler-Nissani, D. M., 1992, “Experimental studies of belief-dependence of observations and of resistance to conceptual hange.” Cognition and Instruction, 9: 97-111.
60. Russell, Bertrand, 1950, Unpopular Essays.
61. Gatto, John Taylor, 2010, Weapons Of Mass Instruction: A Schoolteacher’s Journey Through The Dark World Of Compulsory Schooling.
62. H.L. Mencken, cited in Gatto, ibid.
63. Gatto, ibid.
64. Cited in Gatto, ibid.
65. Churchill, Ward, 2005, “To disrupt, discredit and destroy: The FBI’s secret war against the Black Panther Party.”
66. Nissani, M., 2022, Encyclopedia of Domestic Assassinations: The US/Uk Smear, Harass, Blackmail, Bribe, Incarcerate, or Murder all Influential Dissidents.
Dr. Moti Nissani is a jack of most academic trades and professor emeritus, Wayne State University. He is the author of Encyclopedia of Domestic Assassinations: The US/UK Smear, Harass, Blackmail, Bribe, Incarcerate, or Murder all Influential Dissidents (an Aug. 2022 public domain book), Lives in the Balance: The Cold War and American Politics, 1945-1991 (a 1992 public domain book), and many peer reviewed academic articles in a variety of disciplines.,