Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org
In order to overcome the partisanship on both sides of this U.S. Presidential contest, the corruption of both of the candidates needs to be acknowledged, and a quick way to do that is to consider the cases of their respective charities (we’ll go beyond that to a broader view afterward):
On September 10th, David A. Farenthold headlined in the Washington Post, “How Donald Trump retooled his charity to spend other people’s money”, and he documented that Trump has lied in his many statements asserting that he donates lots to charities, and that he has even used his (actually meager) Foundation as a device to collect donations from others and then simply donate that money from others, to other charities as being “charitable donations by the Trump Foundation”; he even has sometimes used donations others had made to his ‘Charity’ in order to purchase things for some of his own businesses. So: not only is his ‘charity’ meager, but it consists largely of the charity of others — and of benefit to himself and to the value of his brand.
Regarding Clinton’s case, an article was published by Huffington Post’s “blog” on 29 May 2016, that optimistically (and unrealistically trusting that the U.S. government would actually follow through on this) predicted “Hillary Clinton to be Indicted on Federal Racketeering Charges” for her having used the U.S. State Department to fundraise for her Clinton Foundation (money that she and her family control), but the article lasted less than a day online before being taken down by HuffPo management. I have personally checked out all of this article’s linked sources and found that they are sound and collectively documented an extensive racketeering operation. Other articles have documented some of its harmful consequences, such as (here and here and here and here) against the Haitian people for the benefit of both Haiti’s and America’s aristocracies; and, so, even if what the immediate withdrawn-by-management article predicted would happen has turned out to have been false (as now seems inevitable — Hillary won’t be prosecuted), the things that it was alleging to have already occurred (the historical account) were, indeed, entirely true, and damning. The article does show Hillary Clinton to have been operating the U.S. State Department as a personal racket. And other articles document many harmful consequences from it.
The Presidential nominees of both of our major political Parties are profoundly corrupt, and they lie to the public about their kindness and their generosity, which are absent (more like the opposite) in reality. Hillary Clinton’s attempt to destroy evidence in the criminal case against her, by destroying all records she could of her emails, and the FBI’s refusal even to investigate to find the motive for that crime and thereby to say it wasn’t prosecutable, are additional crimes (that won’t be prosecuted) regarding the Clinton Foundation side of this matter, but both of the major-Party nominees are poseurs, liars, and psychopaths.
The deeper question is why, at the present stage of U.S. history, our supposedly (but no longer actually) democratic system of government, has offered to the American people, what the theocratic Iranian system offers to its people: a choice between only uglies — excluding any and all decent, progressive, nominees. There was one decent and progressive candidate in the Presidential contest, Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries, and he had the highest net approval-ratings, and also in all the polls showed as being able to beat, by the biggest margins, each and every one of the opposite Party’s candidates, and so that candidate, Sanders, was clearly preferred the most, by the largest percentage of Americans — but today’s corrupt American political system excluded that person from being even a choice at all, in the final round (November 8th) contest. (Sanders also has by far topped the annual surveys of approval of each of the 100 Senators among the people within the given Senator’s own state, the very people who have considered that person’s policy-record and Senate votes the closest and the longest; and, in the latest published survey, which was reported on 13 September 2016, Sanders’s approval-rating there was 87%, and the second-most-approved Senator had an approval-rating of 69% — an enormous fall-off of 18% from the number-one Senator). It’s like Iran’s mullahs excluding the best candidates from the final choice by the Iranian people. (Incidentally, on the Republican side of the 2016 Presidential contest, the strongest candidate in the head-to-head matchups against both Clinton and Sanders was John Kasich; but, just like in the Democratic Party, the strongest-polling candidate failed to win his own Party’s nomination. In the polled match-ups between Kasich and Sanders, Sanders was almost always the winner, but in the polled matchups between Kasich and Clinton, Clinton was.)
It is not a democracy when both of the two candidates that are the most preferred by the most people are excluded from the final two-person choice — such as in Iran, and, now, also in the United States. If America were a democracy, the final Presidential contest now would be between Sanders and Kasich — but it’s not.
This is the situation that one would expect in an “oligarchy” — a nation that’s controlled by its aristocrats (the very few wealthiest persons). In all of politics, in every country, there is always an intrinsic conflict between money and voters, for control over the nation’s government. During the U.S. Constitutional Convention in 1787, in which America’s Constitution was written, the debates focused upon how to avoid the U.S. to become an oligarchy — rule by the wealthiest, against the public. However, the only scientific study that has ever been done of whether the U.S. is controlled by the public (a democracy), or contrarywise by only the wealthiest — an aristocracy or “oligarchy” — finds (based upon study of 1,779 policy-issues during the period 1981-2002) that the U.S. is, in fact, an “oligarchy.” (The situation has probably become even worse since that period ended, but no study has been done of the subsequent years.)
In other words: former U.S. President Jimmy Carter is correct to state that the U.S. now is “just an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery.” The evidence since he left the White House in 1981 (and up till at least 2002) showed clearly that that is the case; and it has been getting worse (not better) after 2002 (because of the activist-conservative, Republican, rabidly pro-aristocracy, U.S. Supreme Court decisions, such as Citizens United — which the ‘Democrat’ Hillary Clinton exploits more than any other politician).
For example, there was considerable rhetorical difference between the candidates in the last U.S. Presidential election, Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but afterwards in actual policies, one can well imagine that Romney would have done much as Obama has done as President, and not only in domestic policies but even also in foreign policies. It was Romney — not Obama — who said (and it was Obama — not Romney — who mocked), “Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe.” At the Bilderberg conferences and at all other forums in which the U.S. — and its other allied — aristocracy gather, or in their public statements such as in the U.S. aristocracy’s Foreign Affairs journal or Foreign Policy magazine, this viewpoint (that after both the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact military alliance ended in 1991, still “Russia, this is without question our number one geopolitical foe”) is ceaselessly put forth (and in a March 2006 article in Foreign Affairs, was even put forth the view that America should go all the way to nuclearly blitzing Russia; and Obama in 2015 started the Prompt Global Strike plan in order to enable this goal to be able to be achieved mainly by non-nuclear weaponry — he apparently wants to be able to make use of at least some of Russia, after it’s conquered).
Similarly, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are pushing for the TPP, TTIP, and TISA proposed treaties, which would give international corporations a higher sovereignty than any nation’s sovereignty, and would, if passed into law, enable international corporations to sue the taxpayers of any participating nation, for multi-billion-dollar sums, in a supra-national system not of courts, and not of any nation’s constitution and laws, but of three-person panels of corporate “arbitrators” whose decisions (not dependent upon any country’s laws) will be non-appealable. Only deeply corrupt nations’ governments can approve such treaties, because if their publics knew what those treaties’ “ISDS” provisions mean, the public would revolt against passage of it: therefore, the press need to be rigidly controlled in order for a ‘democratic’ country to sign it. If any of these three horrific treaties (introducing actually an international fascist dictatorship) goes into effect, then not only the U.S. will be thoroughly corrupt at the top, but the entire world will soon become so (the parts that haven’t yet).
In other words: the U.S. aristocracy control U.S. politics; and that’s the reason why both of America’s major-Party contenders are profoundly corrupt. This would not happen in an authentic democracy. It is not the result of democracy; it is the result of democracy’s having ended in the U.S.
The question of whether a ‘benign dictatorship’ has ever existed, can reasonably be debated upon the basis of the evidence. However, the answer to the question of whether the U.S. still is a “democracy,” is clear and beyond debate, on the basis of the evidence — and it is not a democracy. After 1981, it has been, and is, an aristocracy (the researchers used instead the term “oligarchy”), ruling here. And any aristocracy is profoundly corrupt — that is the very nature of aristocracy: unaccountable power, what can almost be defined to constitute “an aristocrat.”
And that is why both Trump and Clinton are corrupt. This is the culmination of that deeper reality. On the surface is partisanship loaded heavily with lies; underneath is the reality of America’s aristocracy controlling, now, both of the two political Parties.
(Incidentally, and so this is added here parenthetically: Americans who say such things as “Don’t vote for either of them” or “Vote third-party,” are pretenders to participating in their nation’s politics, not actual participants in it — whatever it is, which, in the current U.S. case, is a choice of the lesser of two evils. Even Ralph Nader and Ross Perot failed to come even close to winning even merely a single one of the 50 States in the Electoral College; such ‘candidates’ are fakes, whose only real function is to attract enough more away from the number of potential voters for one of the two Parties’ nominees than away from the other of the two Parties’ nominees, so as to throw the ‘election’ — and that strategy has succeeded only once in modern history, when Nader drew enough away from Gore, both in New Hampshire and in Florida, so as to enable the five Republicans on the U.S. Supreme Court to appoint George W. Bush as President, by the Electoral College vote of 266 Gore to 271 Bush, though Gore won 543,895 more of the nationwide counted votes than did Bush. Bush won the Presidency by, among other things, his 5-4-vote win in the U.S. Supreme Court, an opinion that was so corrupt — making unprecedented and blatantly antithetical use of the Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause, to apply to ballots instead of to voters — so that even the 5-vote majority decision said, using tortured logic, that this ruling would not be able to be cited in future Supreme Court rulings as a precedent: “Our consideration is limited to the present circumstances, for the problem of equal protection in election processes generally presents many complexities.” However, there is no actual applicability of the Equal Protection Clause to ballots, but only to people. That’s not ‘complex’ at all. The Republicans simply don’t want the Democrats to be able to cite this decision as a precedent in the future if, at that future time, the shoe might happen to be on the other foot. Nader’s voters were suckers who helped him to throw the ‘election’ to Bush, which was what Nader was trying to do. In an aristocracy, everything related to government is corrupt, and the only way to ‘justify’ that sort of government is constant lying. But the voter’s only choices in the final ‘election’ are the lesser-of-two-evils choice between the two major Parties’ nominees, and anything else than that is abdicating the miniscule effect — if any at all — that the voter has. Nader, Perot, Stein, etc., are mere sucker-baits, even if the sucker calls it a ‘protest vote’. They’re actually no vote at all.)
Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.