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What In The Name of this Republic Are We Doing?

Instead of vouchsafing our democracy and sounding alarm bells loud and clear, our media have become complicit. With rare exception, rather than serving as guard dogs, they are lap dogs.

The United States government, through its Executive branch and now likely soon through its Legislative branch, asserts the right to bomb, invade and destroy whatever country it chooses. It refuses to respect as a matter of international law the sovereignty of any other country, and reserves the right to get rid of any regime, in any part of the world that is, appears to be, or might some day become, hostile to what the US considers to be its vital interests.

The US is beset by social problems for which the existing political setup has no answers. Indeed, it is unable to even address them. The existing two-party system, whose personnel are utterly dependent on the financial support of the plutocracy, is thoroughly unrepresentative of the general population. How else can one explain the fact that the deep unease and ambivalence felt by millions of Americans toward the drive toward war find virtually no articulation in the political establishment?

Rather, the political establishment, whose constituencies are different fractions of the richest two percent of the population, is absolutely incapable of giving voice to the concerns and interests of the broad masses.

Let’s tell it like it is: The policies of the Bush administration are not merely mistaken, they are criminal. Those responsible for these policies are not misguided individuals, they are political criminals. But the criminality of their “policy” flows from the essentially criminal character of American imperialism, which strives to shore up its faltering capitalist system through a policy of plunder and mass murder through military aggression and invasion of other sovereign nations. (Please note that “imperialism” and “capitalism” have nothing to do with “democracy” or “republican form of government”; quite the contrary, in fact.)

The recent exposures of corporate corruption have a far-reaching social significance. The daily operations of American business have assumed a criminal character in the minds of the general public, stung as they are by the falling values of their retirement portfolios—inflated to begin with by false representations by too many stock-held companies—and by abolished jobs. The ruling elite has accumulated massive wealth through the willful and systematic plundering of industrial, financial and social resources. American CEOs could sum up their tenures at the corporations they wrecked by slightly modifying the words of Caesar: “I came, I saw, I stole.”

There is not, in fact, any major difference between the Mafia-like corrupt and greedy business “leaders” who have plundered Russia during the past decade and the criminal gang of CEOs in the US who have looted their corporations at the expense of their shareholders, employees, and communities.

Nor is there any fundamental difference in the methods used by this elite criminal class to achieve its international objectives. It wants Iraqi oil, and so it intends to steal it—with the help of the United States military, at the expense of the taxpaying public, and at a cost of untold numbers of innocent lives.

How did things come to such a sorry pass, and what can we do about it? This newspaper has received numerous letters to the editor on the points raised in this editorial (in fact, the genesis of this editorial came from reader John Kaminski, whose work was influenced by a story by journalist David North). Concerned citizens of goodwill from all political persuasions—right, left, and center—ought to be equally outraged at what is happening. Outraged, appalled, and ashamed.

Yet this outrage and shame have been muted because our so-called “free press” attempts a pose of neutrality, at best, in the face of inexcusable, unacceptable, criminal (or if not always criminal, at least immoral and unethical) corporate and political behaviors. Every front page of every newspaper in America should right now be carrying editorials and publisher’s statements condemning what has been happening in Washington, and among the criminal corporate elite, and calling for reform at the highest levels. Instead of vouchsafing our democracy and sounding alarm bells loud and clear, our media have become complicit. With rare exception, rather than serving as guard dogs, they are lap dogs. Beware of false arguments about whether our media (especially radio and TV) are “liberal” or “conservative”: they are neither—just bought-and-paid-for apologists.

This 30-year-old community newspaper has the freedom to publish these words under the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. We can do so because we are totally independent and do not care if we make a profit on writing these words. We do not care if we “lose advertisers” or “offend readers” by speaking truth. There are bigger issues at stake here. This is where the rubber hits the road, journalistically speaking--the real bottom line.

Copyright © 2003 The Baltimore Chronicle and The Sentinel. All rights reserved. We invite your comments, criticisms and suggestions.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle and Sentinel content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

This story was published on October 2, 2002.
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