Faking freedom requires controlling the nodes of power in a society. In this chapter I will analyze our media, political system, justice system, educational system, and healthcare system, breaking down the ways in which each has been corrupted into serving the needs of the Cartel rather than the American people. (National Security is next chapter)
[Rockefeller] told his listeners: ‘We are grateful to the Washington Post, The New York Times, Time Magazine, and other great publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected their promises of discretion for almost forty years….It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during these years….The supranational sovereignty of an intellectual elite and world bankers … is surely preferable to the national autodetermination practiced in the past centuries.’ -1991 issue of the Hilaire duBerrier Report (also reported elsewhere in the French press)
As with our economic and political systems, the face of our media is all about freedom of speech, but behind that facade lies a very deliberate system for controlling information. There are two important facets to this:
1) Making sure the story of the Cartel is not told
2) Crafting propaganda to support whatever agenda is currently on the table.
This is again accomplished through a hierarchical power structure acting on strategic nodes of control. For example, lets say you control the owner of the New York Times, who appoints the top editor, who appoints the lower editors, who determine what gets published. By giving that owner an agenda, it can be passed on to the top editor, who will pass it along to the editorial staff, where it is then expressed in the news consumed by all americans. Those willing to “play ball” move up, and anyone who talks about the establishment can look forward to a tasty mix of unemployment and articles in various respected papers labeling them insane (I should be so lucky!). The result is that although anyone can say anything they want (this blog for example), it’s only permitted on a small scale, and the big media guns are always there to stamp out your message with their media drones. This clip from the Conan O’Brien show illustrates this concept nicely. Watch as so many small fish reveal their marching orders from bigger fish, and how a singular message can be distributed across the country.
Obviously this is a petty example, but you can imagine the impact of say, a story about how Iraq is hiding weapons of mass destruction. Consider the time a single radio host started reporting earth was being invaded by Aliens and it caused widespread panic. And that was just one guy! Imagine if you could push your hoax to every tv channel and every newspaper. The power of media to influence the perception of reality is not to be underestimated, and the Cartel well understands the critical role media plays in their operations. I would go so far as to say it’s the second most important thing behind the money, and only because the money can be used to buy the media. 30 years ago this high level consolidation of power in media was a little tougher to discern, but in the modern era it’s become pretty obvious.
The net result is that those in power currently have the ongoing ability to craft a picture of reality that sits apart from actual events on the ground. To reference just one recent example, Ex-CNN reporter Amber Lyon revealed that during her work for CNN she received orders to report false storylines in order to push public opinion in favor of war against Iran and Syria. When she refused she was fired. Her story illustrates both important points in one: the ongoing information management as well as the ever-present risk/reward paradigm for “playing ball”. As an example of the reward side of the paradigm, note Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes was recently awarded the Emmy for an interview with Iran’s Ahmadinejad where he blatantly edited around the meaning of what was said to make it look like the opposite.
Make no mistake- this is a problem that exists on all sides of the political spectrum. In fact having contentious arguments across left and right is critical to maintaining the illusion of free speech. But if you look closely, you will see that the evidence I am covering in this essay is never allowed within those debates.
The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum – even encourage the more critical and dissident views. That gives people the sense that there’s free thinking going on, while all the time the presuppositions of the system are being reinforced by the limits put on the range of the debate. -Noam Chomsky
Finally, perhaps the most telling quote of all is from the ignominious Karl Rove, as reported by Ron Suskind.
[Rove] said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”
“The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the U.S. since the days of Andrew Jackson.” -Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Faking capitalism and freedom of speech was a great success for the bankers, but the success they’ve had faking Democracy is not far behind. Americans are so tied up in knots over their party alliances and the “incompetence” of politicians that they have no idea what’s really going on. So let’s not dance around it: the people who are elected into office are not there to represent you. Nor are the people they appoint.
So then, how is it possible that a group of people that we elected can act in ways so counter to our own interests? The answer comes down to controlling both our choices, and only offering candidates on each side that have agreed to support the banker’s agenda. This is accomplished rather easily by controlling the flow of money, media coverage, and other brokers of political power. It’s a system built on corruption, and only those willing to serve the establishment are allowed to take part. This is generally known as “playing ball”, and any politician who refuses the game will be quickly driven into irrelevance. The establishment is capable of controlling the political system at all levels, and has grown quite adept at getting the right people elected. Watch this awesome video on how Ron Paul was essentially deleted from the 2012 election, despite massive popularity.
The twisted genius of pretending we have a democracy is that when our representatives fail we have only ourselves to blame. And that’s exactly what Americans do. We blame each other for electing the wrong people, or worse, we justify supporting a candidate we don’t even like just so someone worse won’t get elected. This polarizing phenomena is why we have such bitter political divides in this country despite largely shared core values.
Similarly many people blame our politicians for being incompetent. But as I’ve discussed in my theory of incompetence, absorbing criticism for incompetence is just a method to mask who their dual agenda. Indeed, the conflict between serving the establishment while also appeasing the people requires the very highest level of rhetorical bullshit from our political leaders. Did the American people want to go to war in Iraq? (There’s even a memo where Rumsfeld brainstorms ways to trick us into war. War is extremely profitable for the bankers, but I won’t get into that now) Do the American people support the TSA? Did the American people support torture? Did the American people support removing the right to a trial for Americans? Spying on all cell phone calls? Of course Americans didn’t want those things- they contradict the basic values of peace and freedom outlined in the Constitution. But the establishment wanted those things, so as always our politicians were given the job of selling it to the American people, alternately scaring us or appeasing us with meaningless platitudes.
I have never seen more senators express discontent with their jobs. … I think the major cause is that, deep down in our hearts, we have been accomplices to doing something terrible and unforgivable to this wonderful country. Deep down in our hearts, we know that we have bankrupted America and that we have given our children a legacy of bankruptcy. … We have defrauded our country to get ourselves elected. -Senator John Danforth, April 21, 1992
When the founding fathers wrote the constitution they decreed that all men are created equal, but that is simply no longer true when it comes to our courts. In our justice system there is one set of rules for the powerful, and another set of rules for the rest of us. Glen Greenwald laid this out nicely in his recent article The Untouchables, covering how the Obama administration has protected Wall Street from prosecution following the financial collapse they caused. Setting that aside, I would like to use the recent HSBC bank ruling as an example, because they didn’t just bend a few rules- they broke almost every law in the book, and on a massive scale.
For at least half a decade, the storied British colonial banking power helped to wash hundreds of millions of dollars for drug mobs, including Mexico’s Sinaloa drug cartel, suspected in tens of thousands of murders just in the past 10 years – people so totally evil, jokes former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, that “they make the guys on Wall Street look good.” The bank also moved money for organizations linked to Al Qaeda and Hezbollah, and for Russian gangsters; helped countries like Iran, the Sudan and North Korea evade sanctions; and, in between helping murderers and terrorists and rogue states, aided countless common tax cheats in hiding their cash.
“They violated every goddamn law in the book,” says Jack Blum, an attorney and former Senate investigator who headed a major bribery investigation against Lockheed in the 1970s that led to the passage of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. “They took every imaginable form of illegal and illicit business.”
That nobody from the bank went to jail or paid a dollar in individual fines is nothing new in this era of financial crisis. What is different about this settlement is that the Justice Department, for the first time, admitted why it decided to go soft on this particular kind of criminal. It was worried that anything more than a wrist slap for HSBC might undermine the world economy. “Had the U.S. authorities decided to press criminal charges,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer at a press conference to announce the settlement, “HSBC would almost certainly have lost its banking license in the U.S., the future of the institution would have been under threat and the entire banking system would have been destabilized.”
So to review, for laundering drug cartel money, committing massive fraud, and funding terrorism and known murderers, nobody went to jail and they only had to pay a fine equivalent to 2 months salary. Contrast that to one of countless stories about regular folks being imprisoned for life over petty offenses. Take for example this story, about a man who grew medical marijuana in accordance with state law, but is now being put in jail for the rest of his life. How does that make any sense? The mass incarceration of our people is an ongoing tragedy, with so so many lives ruined over the smallest of infractions. The prison industry has become big business in our society, and the US boasts the highest rate of incarcerated Citizens in the entire world.
The Cartel has allowed the burgeoning prison industry because it gives them even more control over the population. Knowing you could be put in jail for a minor infraction is a powerful deterrent to speaking out against the establishment. This has nothing to do with justice; at the top level it’s about control, and at the lower levels it’s about making money.
Whistleblowers are also a prime target for incarceration. Bradley Manning has been in solitary confinement for years now, stripped of his clothes and his sanity, for revealing information that did nothing to harm national security but did reveal aspects of the story the Cartel does not allow. Same with John Kiriakou who blew the whistle on the CIA’s illegal rendition program. The message being sent is loud and clear: Mess with us and we will make your life a nightmare. It’s not worth it. Stop asking questions and go back to work.
Our educational system has not been spared in the propagandistic representation of reality being foisted on us by the cartel. From textbooks to research papers, the game is played the same way- follow the rules and you move up, try to do the right thing and you will be fired. From a recent article in the Huffington post:
The Federal Reserve, through its extensive network of consultants, visiting scholars, alumni and staff economists, so thoroughly dominates the field of economics that real criticism of the central bank has become a career liability for members of the profession, an investigation by the Huffington Post has found.
And of course we shouldn’t be surprised to see how this power is distributed:
One critical way the Fed exerts control on academic economists is through its relationships with the field’s gatekeepers. For instance, at the Journal of Monetary Economics, a must-publish venue for rising economists, more than half of the editorial board members are currently on the Fed payroll — and the rest have been in the past.
Another tragic aspect to the corruption of our educational institutions is the staggering amount of debt students are being burdened with. Debt is how the bankers control people, and younger genrations are being paralyzed. College tuition has increased a mind-boggling 1,210% in 30 years. The average debt of college graduates is a staggering $13,600, growing at 2.1% beyond inflation since 2005.
Students who acquire large debts putting themselves through school are unlikely to think about changing society. When you trap people in a system of debt they can’t afford the time to think. -Noam Chomsky
I am not suggesting we don’t have great doctors. We do. But over time our healthcare system has transitioned from treating patients to treating profits, and the cost of healthcare has now reached the point where we are facing a true crisis.
Some 80 million people, around 43% of America’s working-age adults, didn’t go to the doctor or access other medical services last year because of the cost –Biennial Health Insurance Survey
Steven Brill recently wrote an insightful analysis of this ongoing tragedy, illustrating in vivid detail how our healthcare system preys upon the sick, charging them exorbitant prices they cannot refuse, burying them in debt, and often refusing treatment over lack of funds.
Sean was held for about 90 minutes in a reception area, she says, because the hospital could not confirm that the check had cleared. Sean was allowed to see the doctor only after he advanced MD Anderson $7,500 from his credit card. The hospital says there was nothing unusual about how Sean was kept waiting. According to MD Anderson communications manager Julie Penne, “Asking for advance payment for services is a common, if unfortunate, situation that confronts hospitals all over the United States.” The total cost, in advance, for Sean to get his treatment plan and initial doses of chemotherapy was $83,900.
Brill’s article continues, talking about how the medical industry has turned into big business, placing money in the hands of businessmen while burying patients and even Doctors in massive debt.
The president of MD Anderson is paid like someone running a prosperous business. Ronald DePinho’s total compensation last year was $1,845,000. That does not count outside earnings derived from a much publicized waiver he received from the university that, according to the Houston Chronicle, allows him to maintain unspecified “financial ties with his three principal pharmaceutical companies.” DePinho’s salary is nearly triple the $674,350 paid to William Powers Jr., the president of the entire University of Texas system, of which MD Anderson is a part.
Brill continues, detailing just how unbelievable our health care costs have become, telling the story of a woman charged $25,000 for a diagnosis of heartburn.
According to one of a series of exhaustive studies done by the McKinsey & Co. consulting firm, we spend more on health care than the next 10 biggest spenders combined: Japan, Germany, France, China, the U.K., Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain and Australia. We may be shocked at the $60 billion price tag for cleaning up after Hurricane Sandy. We spent almost that much last week on health care. We spend more every year on artificial knees and hips than what Hollywood collects at the box office. We spend two or three times that much on durable medical devices like canes and wheelchairs, in part because a heavily lobbied Congress forces Medicare to pay 25% to 75% more for this equipment than it would cost at Walmart.
So who’s setting these prices? Apparently it’s a faceless position called “The Chargemaster”.
The price is the problem. Stamford Hospital spokesman Scott Orstad told me that the $199.50 figure for the troponin test was taken from what he called the hospital’s chargemaster. The chargemaster, I learned, is every hospital’s internal price list. Decades ago it was a document the size of a phone book; now it’s a massive computer file, thousands of items long, maintained by every hospital. Stamford Hospital’s chargemaster assigns prices to everything, including Janice S.’s blood tests. It would seem to be an important document. However, I quickly found that although every hospital has a chargemaster, officials treat it as if it were an eccentric uncle living in the attic. Whenever I asked, they deflected all conversation away from it. They even argued that it is irrelevant. I soon found that they have good reason to hope that outsiders pay no attention to the chargemaster or the process that produces it. For there seems to be no process, no rationale, behind the core document that is the basis for hundreds of billions of dollars in health care bills.
The bottom line is that this is an industry completely lacking proper supervision, and it has become viciously dangerous to the physical and financial health of our population. Just like the Justice system and the Educational system, these are institutions that have turned against the American people.
Make no mistake- we are all under attack.
Chapter 5. Information War The Cartel moves to protect their empire from exposure