Paul Craig Roberts’ final essay: Corporate media is propaganda; serves US police state and oligarchs
Paul Craig Roberts, one of the sanest voices of the Reagan administration and lauded academic and government professional, is retiring his public essays. His last, reprinted below, summarizes his observation of government, media, and economics as criminal enterprises of “leadership” to create an American police state, veiled with psychopathically empty rhetoric of legality and American values.
Their principle policies are unlawful Wars of Aggression for empire and profit, casino capitalism for their own oligarchies, and crushing the US Constitution to pre-emptively remove the public’s capacity to dissent if, and this is a big if, they ever awake from their propaganda-induced collective stupor. This anti-American agenda is protected by continuous lies of omission and commission by corporate media; a revealed propaganda machine.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He was awarded the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Mitterrand. He is the author of Supply-Side Revolution : An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington; Alienation and the Soviet Economy and Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy, and is the co-author with Lawrence M. Stratton of The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice. Click here for Peter Brimelow’s Forbes Magazine interview with Roberts about the epidemic of prosecutorial misconduct. His latest book, How The Economy Was Lost , has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press.
Truth Has Fallen and Has Taken
Liberty With It
By Paul Craig Roberts
During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act. George Orwell
There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword. That was a time when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or financial interest.
Today Americans are ruled by propaganda. Americans have little regard for truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.
Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of being branded "anti-American," "anti-Semite" or "conspiracy theorist."
Truth is an inconvenience for government and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control government.
Truth is an inconvenience for prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or guilt.
Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.
Today many whose goal once was the discovery of truth are now paid handsomely to hide it. "Free market economists" are paid to sell offshoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by "the New Economy," a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur offshore. All Americans need in order to participate in this "new economy" are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs.
Economists who were once respectable took money to contribute to this myth of "the New Economy."
And not only economists sell their souls for filthy lucre. Recently we have had reports of medical doctors who, for money, have published in peer-reviewed journals concocted "studies" that hype this or that new medicine produced by pharmaceutical companies that paid for the "studies."
The Council of Europe is investigating big pharma’s role in hyping a false swine flu pandemic in order to gain billions of dollars in sales of the vaccine.
The media helped the US military hype its recent Marja offensive in Afghanistan, describing Marja as a city of 80,000 under Taliban control. It turns out that Marja is not urban but a collection of village farms.
And there is the global warming scandal, in which climate scientists, financed by Wall Street and corporations anxious to get their mitts on "cap and trade" and by a U.N. agency anxious to redistribute income from rich to poor countries, concocted a doomsday scenario in order to create profit in pollution.
Wherever one looks, truth has fallen to money.
Wherever money is insufficient to bury the truth, ignorance, propaganda, and short memories finish the job.
I remember when, following CIA director William Colby’s testimony before the Church Committee in the mid-1970s, presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan issued executive orders preventing the CIA and U.S. black-op groups from assassinating foreign leaders. In 2010 the US Congress was told by Dennis Blair, head of national intelligence, that the US now assassinates its own citizens in addition to foreign leaders.
When Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that US citizens no longer needed to be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of a capital crime, just murdered on suspicion alone of being a "threat," he wasn’t impeached. No investigation pursued. Nothing happened. There was no Church Committee. In the mid-1970s the CIA got into trouble for plots to kill Castro. Today it is American citizens who are on the hit list. Whatever objections there might be don’t carry any weight. No one in government is in any trouble over the assassination of U.S. citizens by the U.S. government.
As an economist, I am astonished that the American economics profession has no awareness whatsoever that the U.S. economy has been destroyed by the offshoring of U.S. GDP to overseas countries. U.S. corporations, in pursuit of absolute advantage or lowest labor costs and maximum CEO "performance bonuses," have moved the production of goods and services marketed to Americans to China, India, and elsewhere abroad. When I read economists describe offshoring as free trade based on comparative advantage, I realize that there is no intelligence or integrity in the American economics profession.
Intelligence and integrity have been purchased by money. The transnational or global U.S. corporations pay multi-million dollar compensation packages to top managers, who achieve these "performance awards" by replacing U.S. labor with foreign labor. While Washington worries about "the Muslim threat," Wall Street, U.S. corporations and "free market" shills destroy the U.S. economy and the prospects of tens of millions of Americans.
Americans, or most of them, have proved to be putty in the hands of the police state.
Americans have bought into the government’s claim that security requires the suspension of civil liberties and accountable government. Astonishingly, Americans, or most of them, believe that civil liberties, such as habeas corpus and due process, protect "terrorists," and not themselves. Many also believe that the Constitution is a tired old document that prevents government from exercising the kind of police state powers necessary to keep Americans safe and free.
Most Americans are unlikely to hear from anyone who would tell them any different.
I was associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I was Business Week’s first outside columnist, a position I held for 15 years. I was columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300 newspapers. I was a columnist for the Washington Times and for newspapers in France and Italy and for a magazine in Germany. I was a contributor to the New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times. Today I cannot publish in, or appear on, the American "mainstream media."
For the last six years I have been banned from the "mainstream media." My last column in the New York Times appeared in January, 2004, coauthored with Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer representing New York. We addressed the offshoring of U.S. jobs. Our op-ed article produced a conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and live coverage by C-Span. A debate was launched. No such thing could happen today.
For years I was a mainstay at the Washington Times, producing credibility for the Moony newspaper as a Business Week columnist, former Wall Street Journal editor, and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. But when I began criticizing Bush’s wars of aggression, the order came down to Mary Lou Forbes to cancel my column.
The American media does not serve the truth. It serves the government and the interest groups that empower the government.
America’s fate was sealed when the public and the anti-war movement bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory. The government’s account of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence. Nevertheless, this defining event of our time, which has launched the US on interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state, is a taboo topic for investigation in the media. It is pointless to complain of war and a police state when one accepts the premise upon which they are based.
These trillion dollar wars have created financing problems for Washington’s deficits and threaten the U.S. dollar’s role as world reserve currency. The wars and the pressure that the budget deficits put on the dollar’s value have put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block. Former Goldman Sachs chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is after these protections for the elderly. Fed chairman Bernanke is also after them. The Republicans are after them as well. These protections are called "entitlements" as if they are some sort of welfare that people have not paid for in payroll taxes all their working lives.
With over 21 percent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980, with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the "war on terror," the liberty and prosperity of the American people have been thrown into the trash bin of history.
The militarism of the U.S. and Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate greed, will now run their course. As the pen is censored and its might extinguished, I am signing off.
That concludes Paul’s final essay.
Fellow Americans: literally for the love of God, it’s time.
It’s time for our men and women in government and military to choose: either stand with the US Constitution you’ve sworn to support and defend against all enemies, foreign and DOMESTIC, or remain complicit in ongoing Wars of Aggression, mass murder of our soldiers and our fellow humans in other lands and throwing trillions of our tax dollars to do so, pushing the world ever-closer to an apparently planned and desired nuclear Third World War (and here), and guilty of what Dr. Martin Luther King called “Silence is Betrayal” before the US government assassinated him according to the only trial conducted for his murder.
It’s time for our men and women in the military and government to refuse all orders associated with our unlawful wars and preparation for unlawful war with Iran over one gram of medical isotope worth $75,000 in 20% enriched nuclear fuel. It is hard to imagine a more ridiculous case for war.
It’s time for our men and women in the military and government to refuse all orders associated with our unlawful wars and preparation for unlawful war with Iran and stand with the American public who declare in a ratio of 9 to 1 that our government no longer represents them under the US Constitution.
It’s time: exercise your 1st Amendment right to freedom of speech and press, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. Please provide this article to all Americans if you find it helpful to stop current and future unlawful wars.
Over 5,000 US soldiers have been killed so far as pawns of the civilian and military brass tyrants. Multiples more have been crippled physically and emotionally. There is no end in sight to current wars; indeed, the US is expanding them into Pakistan and Yemen and threatening more war with Iran. The dead are comforted by God; their families are devastated by the loss of their loved-ones. The crippled and their families face a range of challenges; many so severe that a total of 6,000 US veterans commit suicide every year. One-third of all US homeless men are veterans.
Our military was duped into these wars with calculated "Big Lies;" our trusting young men and women took an Oath to support and defend the US Constitution that supersedes the Nazi insert of “placing the mission first.” The Claus von Stauffenberg faction of US military and government must act to end this soulless mass-murdering; this loveless series of unlawful wars and unlawful orders, if we want a future we’re proud to build.
This choice is up to our men and women in uniform and government for leadership. I provide:
Explanation of the rules of lawful war omitted from their military training that proves beyond any doubt that current US wars are unlawful.
Analogies that the rules of war are almost exactly like those for an individual’s use of force on the street.
Documentation of lies that were known to be lies as our political “leaders” told them and our war-whore corporate media mimicked to propagandize for war in Iraq.
Proof beyond doubt that the speech of Iranian President Ahmadinejad never threatened Israel.
Documentation that IAEA verifies all of Iran’s nuclear material and has only and always been used for legal and peaceful purposes.
A reminder that you love virtue, American values, and love of your fellow human beings.
And, our men and women in uniform must take action as they see best; as will our men and women in government and citizenry. As a teacher of government and law, I conclude our government leadership is guilty of treason against the American public, and guilty of mass murder against our soldiers.
Choose well; our collective future, and your future, depend upon it.
It's time: please share this article with all who can benefit. If you appreciate my work, please subscribe by clicking under the article title (it’s free). Please use my archive of work to help build a brighter future.
I appreciate your attention to these facts and encourage your further study and action consistent with your own self-expression. My recommendations:
Policy response: Gandhi and Martin Luther King advocated public understanding of the facts and non-cooperation with evil. I’m among hundreds who advocate:
1.Understand the laws of war (and here). These were legislated after WW2 and are crystal-clear that only self-defense, in a narrow legal meaning, can justify war. The current US wars are not even close to being lawful and are legal treason against the US. Those involved with US military, government, and law enforcement have an oath to protect and defend the US Constitution. To fulfill their oath they must immediately refuse all orders associated with unlawful wars and military-related constant violation of treaties, and arrest those who issue unlawful orders. The Oath of Enlistment to the US Constitution supersedes the fascist insertion of Nazi propaganda to "always place the mission first" of blindly following unlawful orders.
2.Employ the obvious and simple solutions to end our economic controlled demolition and evolve to a civil economy. End poverty through global cooperation to achieve the UN Millennium Goals by developed countries investing 0.7% of their income (not that the UN is serious for their accomplishment, but the goals are what we should invest to produce). Support global security through cooperation, dignity, justice, and freedom. Create a US Department of Peace to help.
3.Communicate. Trust your unique, beautiful, and powerful self-expression to share as you feel appropriate. Understand that while many people are ready to embrace difficult facts, many are not. Anticipate that you will be attacked and prepare your virtuous response in the spirit of competition, just as you do in other fields.
4.Prosecute the war leaders for obvious violation of the letter and spirit of US war laws and constant lies to engage in further wars. Because the crimes are so broad and deep, I recommend Truth and Reconciliation (T&R) to exchange full truth and return of stolen US assets for non-prosecution. This is the most expeditious way to understand and end all unlawful and harmful acts. Those who reject T&R are subject to prosecution.
Local perspective: Part of my professional duties as a teacher of economics and government is to produce competent adult citizenry. This includes realization that our nation’s policies and money are managed at a broad community level, and these issues have tremendous local impact. Of course, we all want human beings to be individually successful and enjoy their unique, beautiful and powerful self-expressions. Concurrently, we recognize our commitment to local success is strongly dependent upon the success of the community, and that government policy and economics are drivers.
Our status in early 21st Century human history is that we suffer from a long history in government and money of human interrelationship well-described as vicious antagonism. Governments frequently use war as a foreign policy, despite its illegality and dependent upon public ignorance, with horrific consequences. Economic policy is still created within a “Robber Baron” paradigm to concentrate money to an elite few families. Two examples:
1. National taxes effect you dearly, especially the tax to pay interest on the national debt. This costs the American public over $400 billion every year. This is $4,000 per year for every $50,000 of income. Do the math to understand your household’s tax burden for a monetary policy invented by banks for banks to create our money supply as debt. Your competence in this area contributes to our collective voice to simply shift monetary policy to easily pay the national debt, enjoy full employment, collectively save us over a trillion dollars every year, and finally realize what our brightest American minds have been advocating for centuries beginning with Benjamin Franklin. This would have unprecedented local benefits, and requires collective power to accomplish.
2. Ending poverty everywhere on our planet would cost just 0.7% of our income and save a million children’s lives every month. This human accomplishment will cause unimaginable joy at our local level.
"If we are to have peace on earth, our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective. No individual can live alone, no nation can live alone and as long as we try, the more we are going to have war in the world. Now the judgment of God is upon us and we must either learn to live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as fools."
--Inscription on Dr. Martin Luther King’s statue, Moorehouse College, Atlanta
"The day that hunger is eradicated from the earth, there will be the greatest spiritual explosion the world has ever known. Humanity cannot imagine the joy that will burst into the world on the day of that great revolution." -- poet Federico García Lorca
Comments policy: I welcome questions and comments that are civil and pertain to the article topic. Impolite and impertinent comments are subject to deletion. You are a guest here. It is not censorship if you violate the rules and your comment is deleted.
Please consider that I’m among hundreds of writers who have documented our own government’s disclosure of propaganda programs to support their wars. I suspect my articles are under such propagandistic attack from comments that use typical rhetorical fallacies to distract readers from the facts. I invite readers to sharpen their ability to discern such propaganda. They are characterized by a combination of: never addressing the facts, lying about verifiable facts, diverting attention through unsubstantiated belief in an alleged expert, irrelevant data, straw-man attack that distorts the facts, ad hominem attack of insults to the messenger, vile comments to repulse readers, and lies of omission and commission.
I will use such comments to point-out the propaganda or delete them at my discretion. Again, all relevant and polite questions, and factually accurate comments are welcome. As a professional educator I’m in agreement with my experience and research: we learn best from multiple perspectives in mutual commitment to understand the facts, see those facts from diverse points-of-view, and consider various policy proposals of what we should do. I will also respect professional standards and all of our time by rejecting unsubstantiated and/or distracting “comments.”
For those involved in support of US government-sponsored disinformation, I invite you to consider the quality of human relationships you wish to work toward. National security and a brighter future is not a function of fear, manipulation, and control. Our best security follows cooperation, justice under the law, dignity, and freedom. Working for your best imagined self-expression of virtue may include a unique contribution from the inside of your agency. Public attraction to the stories of Star Wars and the Harry Potter books/movies recognize that our society’s jump to civilized relations for all of us might require support from people within the “dark side” acting as covert agents for building a brighter future. Another option is becoming a whistle-blower; Project Camelot is a popular venue for people in sensitive positions. Ultimately, I recommend a Truth and Reconciliation process to exchange full truth for no prosecution, explained in detail at the link. Please consider the wisdom of your own “Scrooge conversion” to act for the benefit of all humanity rather than your self-proclaimed controlling, manipulating, and loveless “masters.”
“Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.”
Los Angeles market: This is the media capital of the world. If we are to build a brighter future, the broadest picture must be communicated. Los Angelinos will play leading roles in communicating these issues’ importance to all humanity and in context to the economic and security concerns of local communities and families, as I explain above. These issues are ongoing “current events” of literally trillions of our collective dollars that directly effect billions of human beings, around the world who we touch in L.A.’s media market and where so many of us have family and friends, and locally with the per household tax burden for trillions of our collective dollars.