Paul Craig Roberts, Contributor
God help them if Obama and Romney ever had to participate in a real debate about a real issue at the Oxford Union. They would be massacred.
The “debates” revealed that not only the candidates but also the entire country is completely tuned out to every real problem and dangerous development. For example, you would never know that US citizens can now be imprisoned and executed without due process. All that is required to terminate the liberty and life of an American citizen by his own government is an unaccountable decision somewhere in the executive branch.
No doubt that Americans, if they think of this at all, believe that it will only happen to terrorists who deserve it. But as no evidence or due process is required, how would we know that it only happens to terrorists? Can we really trust a government that has started wars in 7 countries on the basis of falsehoods? If the US government will lie about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in order to invade a country, why won’t it lie about who is a terrorist?
America needs a debate about how we can be made more safe by removing the Constitutional protection of due process. If the power of government is not limited by the Constitution, are we ruled by Caesar? The Founding Fathers did not think we could trust a Caesar with our safety. What has changed that we can now trust a Caesar?
If we are under such a terrorist threat that the Constitution has to be suspended or replaced by unaccountable executive action, how come all the alleged terrorist cases are sting operations organized by the FBI? In eleven years there has not been a single case in which the “terrorist” had the initiative!
In the eleven years since 9/11, acts of domestic terrorism have been minuscule if they even exist. What justifies the enormous and expensive Department of Homeland Security? Why does Homeland Security have military-equipped Special Response Teams with armored vehicles? Who are the targets of these militarized units? If eleven years of US government murder, maiming, and displacement of millions of Muslims hasn’t provoked massive acts of domestic terrorism, why is Homeland Security creating a domestic armed force of its own? Why are there no congressional hearings and no public discussion? How can a government whose budget is deep in the red afford a second military force with no defined and Constitutionally legal purpose?
What is Homeland Security’s motivation in creating a Homeland Youth? Is the new FEMA Corps a disguise for a more sinister purpose, a Hitler Youth as Internet sites suggest? Are the massive ammunition purchases by Homeland Security related to the raising of a nationwide corps of 18- to 24-year-olds? How can so much be going on in front of our eyes with no questions asked?
Why did not Romney ask Obama why he is working to overturn the federal court’s ruling that US citizens cannot be subject to indefinite detention in violation of the US Constitution? Is it because Romney and his neoconservative advisers agree with Obama and his advisers? If so, then why is one tyrant better than another?
Why has the US constructed a network of detainment camps, for which it is hiring “internment specialists”? (Source)
Why does the US Army now have a policy for “establishing civilian inmate labor programs and civilian prison camps on Army installations”? (Source)
How did the presidential debates avoid the fact of Predator Drones flying over us here in the domestic United States of America? What is the purpose of this? Why are the smallest police forces in the most remote of locations being equipped with armored cars? I have seen them. In small lilly-white communities north of Atlanta, Georgia, communities of sub-million dollar MacMansions have militarized police with armored cars and automatic weapons. SWAT teams in full military gear are everywhere. What is it all about? These small semi-rural areas will never see a terrorist or experience a hostage situation. Yet, they are all armed to the teeth. They are so heavily armed that they could be sent into combat against the Third Reich or the Red Army.
Any such questions run afoul of the assumption of America’s moral perfection. No such debate will ever happen. But if “it is the economy, stupid,” why is there no economic debate?
Last month the Federal Reserve announced QE3. If QE1 and QE2 did not work, why does anyone, including the Federal Reserve chairman, think that QE3 will work?
Yet, the utterly irrational financial markets, which haven’t a clue about anything, were overjoyed at QE3. This can only be because what rules the equity market is propaganda, spin, and disinformation, not facts. The vaunted stock market is incapable of making any correct decision. The decisions are made by the fools in the market operating on a short-run basis. The only safe path to take is to run with the lemmings. This strategy insures that a portfolio manager is always in the middle of his peers and, therefore, he doesn’t lose clients.
How wonderful it would have been for Obama and Romney to have confronted in a real debate how QE3, designed to help insolvent “banks too big to fail,” can help households operating, with two earners, on real incomes of 45 years ago, which is where the current real median household income stands.
How does saving a bank, designated as “too big to fail,” help the family whose jobs or main job has been exported to China or India in order to maximize corporate profits, executive performance bonuses and shareholders’ capital gains?
Obviously the working population of the US has been sacrificed to the profits of the mega-rich.
An appropriate debate question is: Why has the livelihood of working Americans been sacrificed to the profits of the mega-rich?
No such question will ever be asked in a “presidential debate.”
In the 21st century, US citizens became nonentities. They are brutalized by the police whose incomes their taxes pay. They, for protesting some injustice or for no cause at all, are beaten, arrested, tasered and even murdered.
The police, paid by the public, beat up paralyzed people in wheel chairs, frame those who call them for help against criminals, taser grandmothers and small children, and shoot down in cold blood unarmed citizens who have done nothing except lose control of themselves, either through alcohol, drugs, or rage.
Brainwashed Americans pay large taxes at every level of government for protection against gratuitous violence, but what their taxes support is gratuitous violence against themselves. Every American, except for the small number of mega-rich who control Washington, can be arrested and dispossessed, both liberty and property, on the basis of nothing but an allegation of a member of the executive branch who might want the accused’s wife, girlfriend, property, or to settle a score, or to exterminate a rival, or to score against a high school, college, or business rival.
In America today, law serves the powerful, not justice. In effect, there is no law, and there is no justice. Only unaccountable power.
What is the point of a vote when the outcome is the same? Both candidates represent the interests of Israel, not the interests of the US. Both candidates represent the interests of the military/security complex, agribusiness, the offshoring corporations, the suppression of unions and workers, the total demise of civil liberty and the US Constitution, which is in the way of unbridled executive power.
In the US today, the power of money rules. Nothing else is in the equation. Why vote to lend your support to the continuation of your own exploitation? Every time Americans vote it is a vote for their own obliteration.
This article first appeared at Paul Craig Roberts’ new website Institute For Political Economy. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His Internet columns have attracted a worldwide following.