Wednesday, June 01, 2011
The Land of the Free Has Become the Land of the Lost
The America of this nation's forefathers is a relic of the past. It is long gone, though its legacy will remain a subject for history books. Its ghost will haunt us, yet provide a cautionary tale for future generations.
America is no longer the land of the free. It is now ruled by oligarchs and corporatists. And it is no longer governed by the rule of law. The rich, the powerful and the politically connected abide by their own, very different, set of laws.
The corporatocracy has taken hold of our government. We are now the United States of Corporate America.
The Supreme Court has even validated huge, powerful and influential corporations, ruling that they are the equivalent of individual citizens and thereby subject to all the same rights and privileges.
As absurd as this proposition is on its face, it is now affirmed as law.
The pharmaceutical industry wrote the Bush prescription drug law. Big Energy wrote the Cheney energy policy. Regulatory agencies are run by officials from the very industries they are supposed to regulate.
Officials from the Minerals Management Agency (MMA) were having drug-fueled sex parties with oil industry lobbyists before the BP spill predictably occurred. Good times.
The government regulators have been co-opted and now need their own regulators. The corporatists and oligarchs own them. The MMA, FDA and SEC are just some examples of failed regulators who have chosen to protect their corporate overlords rather than the public interest.
After Obama was elected, there was a public effort to draft author/journalist Michael Pollan as the next Agriculture Secretary. Pollan, an astute and learned man who knows all about the food and farming industries, said he would never take a job in which industry lobbyists would be in the same room as him writing laws.
The fact that such a state of affairs would preclude such a worthy candidate from serving in government tells you all you need to know about how corrupt and dysfunctional it is.
As of 2009, there were 185 former members of the House and Senate registered as Washington lobbyists. Congress simply serves as a gateway to the money and influence-peddling of lobbyists.
America is ruled by greedy Wall St. financiers, massive insurance companies, powerful real estate corporations, huge pharmaceutical companies, media conglomerates, Big Agribusiness and Big Energy companies.
These massively powerful and uber-wealthy special interests have turned our elected leaders into their servants.
However, most Americans remain apathetically unaware. They are asleep, ignoring serial injustices and outrages. This lax attitude only allows the downward spiral to continue.
There is little or no public outrage over the continual loss of our freedoms, or the usurpation of the rule of law.
There is no outrage over the power and reach of the Military-Industrial Complex, or of its Wall St. backers.
There is no outrage directed at the oligarchy that rules us and shirks our laws.
There is no outrage over the revolving door between Washington and Wall St.
There is no outrage over the cozy relationship between Washington and the private sector that it is supposed to regulate.
An FCC Chairwoman recently voted to approve the merger of Comcast and NBC/Universal, and subsequently took an executive position with that company. Somehow this was permissible. Only in a rotten, corrupt government would this be acceptable or legal.
The vote was a mere formality; all mergers and acquisitions are approved. No company is too big anymore. Competition no longer exists, and it doesn't even matter to our government. Big Business gets whatever it wants.
Small companies are the engines of innovation and job creation. But big companies buy them, exploit their ideas, ingenuity and inventions, then lay off their employees in the aftermath.
The public's trust has been destroyed. The people don't trust the media, politicians, government, bankers, corporations and most institutions in general.
Perhaps it's this lack of trust that has manifested itself in the form of apathy. It's too bad because that's what the corporatists and oligarchs count on, and how they corrupted and co-opted our government and its laws in the first place.
This country is broken in so many ways, yet we are never lacking for blind, jingoistic patriotism. Somehow America manages to maintain an over-abundance of self-esteem.
Too many Americans are intellectually lazy, incurious and brainwashed by propaganda. They don't know what they don't know, and they don't even care to find out. As long as they are fed a steady diet of trashy TV, celebrity gossip and televised sports, they're satisfied.
Where is the outrage at all of the injustice? It's nowhere to be found. This country has lost its soul. We're a pathetic bunch.
In a republic, you ultimately get the government you deserve.