John Chuckman


‘if I could change one thing about America and Western journalism, it would be that we all repudiate “information warfare” in favor of an old-fashioned respect for facts and fairness — and do whatever we can to achieve a truly informed electorate’

Well said from a conscientious American.

Sadly though, Robert Parry may not be aware of how few there are now fitting that description, conscientious American.

James Traub recently wrote the following, and I believe it captures the essence of the American dilemma:

“The United States of America Is Decadent and Depraved
The problem isn’t Donald Trump – it’s the Donald Trump in all of us…”

My way of saying something similar in my essays has been to compare today’s America with France in, say, the mid-18th century before the Revolution.

As we know from the infamous Talleyrand, it was a “very sweet time to be alive” (if you were among the wealthy and privileged, of course). This brilliant, but exceedingly corrupt, Catholic Bishop and statesman managed to survive and thrive through many twists and turns, even the Revolution and Napoleon.

He was perhaps a close parallel to some of the leading figures we see today in Washington. And the set of great land-owning lords and churchmen, who were never willing to budge in the slightest in their vast privileges to help save a financially-floundering monarchy, parallel quite closely America’s super-wealthy set, the people who keep looking for tax cuts and legal privileges and never offer anything of their substance to better the country.

But apart from being a time “sweet to be alive,” it was equally a time when a great duke’s carriage wouldn’t even stop if it struck a peasant who happened to be in his way on the road. The body was taken no more account of than people today note “roadkill” of small animals on the highway.

It was that brutally divided and unequal a society, absolutely extreme, and of course I do not just mean in terms of wealth, but when wealth becomes too extremely unequal, it generates many other inequalities such as treatment before the law or fair opportunities or even health. And we do see those very things in America. France, of course, eventually self-destructed. I don’t carry that last as a necessary parallel for America, but it is not beyond the realm of possibilities.

America has reached a place not too different from the France of Louis Quinze or Seize. The government in Washington takes no care or concern for ordinary Americans. None.

The ruling establishment in Washington, too, is not all that different from a ruling aristocracy. Money rules elections and policy. The plutocracy with the big money calls the shots. Taxes and other policies are structured for the rich.

Offices, such as the powerful Senate, are virtually lifetime sinecures, few of the incumbents ever losing a future election. And, in a number of cases, the offices are handed down to children or other favored successors. There are many examples of this, a sure sign of corruption and decadence.

So, we have a plutocracy with its loyal representatives in Washington, supported by a Frankenstein-size military and security establishment with 17 agencies in total, including the well-known CIA, NSA, and FBI.

These vast support agencies of course are paid for through the taxes of millions of ordinary citizens, but their purpose and employment are in the service of the plutocracy and special interests.

America’s “Defense Department” has not fought a single war or conflict having anything to do with defense in three-quarters of a century. It is all aggressive, much like the great wars of France, and all to serve special interests and the privileged, imposing their will on others.

Does that sound like a democratic government? Or even a decent government concerned with the people it governs? Of course, it does not.

Does that sound like a modern version of what France had in, say, 1760, with its great lords and bishops, huge army, and a government which did little more than make war and scramble for advantages at court? Yes, of course, it does.

No election or candidate under the existing circumstances can hope to change this, and it difficult to imagine any other mechanism which might restore some semblance of decency.


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