The Three Branches
April 1st 2011 · 0 Comments
by Maintenance Man
We all learned in school that our American government has three branches: the legislative (Congress), the executive (President and Departments), and the judicial (Courts). That tells you little or nothing that will help you understand our national situation or, for that matter, how we are actually governed. For that, you need to learn about the three branches of actual U.S. governance, who/what actually runs the place:
1) The Plutocracy: (rule by the wealthy). This branch includes the financial companies [banks, insurance, real estate], the commodity companies [energy, agricultural], the construction companies [roads, dams, power plants], the technology companies [software, engineering], and leaks into and overlaps with…
2) The Oligarchy (rule by the few, the powerful). This branch features the various security organs that have become a trillion-dollar- plus part of the economy, including the military, the various secret police and spy services, the private security contracting business [both at home and, more so, in war zones], and the defense contractors and the media, who are also major league members of the plutocratic branch of government. Also in the oligarchy, as an adjunct servicing arm, is academia and all its professors and experts ready to serve as talking heads on TV and explain why this is the best of all possible worlds.
3) The Democracy- the weakest branch. This is where we find the so-called “government,” those who are supposed to be running the place, but who in fact are, at their best, negotiators who make whatever deals they can with the plutocracy and oligarchy to keep that vague abstraction, “The American People,” from revolting.
They also have discretion regarding issues about which the plutocracy and oligarchy happen not to care, but about which enough voters to generally be annoying do care. General Dynamics and Boeing don’t care whether abortion is or isn’t legal, or whether or not you can legally marry monkeys. Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan don’t care either.
Unlike the democracy branches of our governance, the plutocracy and oligarchy should not be thought of as organized groups or institutions. There is no need for the insistent political demands of “Money and Power” to be specifically organized to be felt. The big concentrations of wealth, centered on, but far flung from Wall Street, don’t need to coalesce to be a branch.
It is more than enough that they flood the democracy branch with campaign financing and lobbyists. And when I say flood, I’m talking Biblical levels here, as in totally inundated.
And the kissin’ cousin of money, power, has, at least from the defense contractor side, more than enough money to open its own firehose of cash to help keep Washington submerged.
The best part is what the defense contractors get to do with Washington’s money. They get it for doing brilliant work in the national defense, like the billion dollars that Boeing got to build 73 miles of “virtual” border fence with Mexico. Aw, shucks, didn’t work. Better luck next time. How many Congressmen can you buy for a billion dollars?
The oligarchy doesn’t need to coalesce and talk. It just needs a war, or two, or, well, heck, as many as possible.
Obviously, for the hardcore Military Industrial Complex against which President Eisenhower warned us, Iraq and Afghanistan have been all that could be wished for. Like the tag line under the MacDonald’s sign, “Billions and Billions Spent!” From Boeing to Blackwater, The War on Terror, and the Middle East Division has been a feeding frenzy for the merchants of death. Or the merchants of gas. All told, various people are paid $400 to get a gallon of gasoline to frontline soldiers in Afghanistan.
And, in an ancillary role, we have the arms sales abroad part of the operation, in which U.S. arms makers supply wars all over the globe.
Back at home The War on Terror (“WOT”) has of course been the making of a whole new Federal Department (Homeland Security), with all the money that sends circling, and has enhanced the power and prestige of the secret police agencies immensely. Too long ago for most of you to remember, there was a television show called “Candid Camera”.At the end of each segment some hapless soul would be told he’d just been filmed being stupid: “Surprise! You’re on Candid Camera!”
Well, now we’re all on “not-so-candid camera.” Our society is ever increasingly surveilled, our privacy a fast-disappearing, quaint concept (“oh, that’s so pre-9/11”), and Big Brother is, indeed, watching you.
The War on Drugs had been the oligarchy’s main tool to wedge the security organs (you know, all the initials, CIA, FBI, DEA, NIA, TSA, KGB, ever more tightly into every crevice of American life, before the much superior War on Terror caused a vastly rising tide to lift all boats in the domestic gun-slinging part of the oligarchy. The War on Drugs, of course, continues to have its own uses and virtues, even if its been outshone by the War on Terror.
For instance, the War on Drugs is immensely helpful in preventing the War on Terror from having any hope of success in Afghanistan. Something on the order of half of Afghan GDP is based on the production and sale of illegal drugs.
So, by advancing the War on Drugs in Afghanistan, we destroy (to the abysmal extent we’re sucessful) the livelihoods of farmers growing opium and cannabis, and drive them into the hands of the anti-American insurgents, thus promoting the continuation of the War on Terror in Afghanistan and, that latest product roll-out, Pakistan.
The interests of the money and power parts of our politics have so obviously been in all but total control of the Democracy part, that it seems a waste of breath to point it out. But, the point is, that if we, the people, merely chose, or simply decided, not to be ruled by the grifters on Wall Street who just got stinking rich betting the farm (on which we depend to live) recklessly, lost, and then got rich again because we bailed them out; not to be ruled by the war loving Military-Industrial oligarchy; not to be ruled by a plutocracy/oligarchy operated media whose whole function is to support their masters and further limit democracy…
If we but chose, it would all be swept away in an instant. It would have the life expectancy of a mid-eastern potentate. We, the people, are what is left after all those other parasites are just cast off to die… if only we would.
By Mark Ziobro