By TOM BENDER
For The Daily Astorian
I should have gotten a clue when a Hollywood actor became president, but I didn't.
What is presented to us in the media about our government and our country is pure smoke - an orchestrated cover-up for really ugly stuff under the surface. Beneath the flags waving, the smiling faces, and the lovely rhetoric about democracy, is something very different.
We're told in the news frightful things about North Korean nuclear tests. "International outrage about the rogue Communist state defying world powers to set off a nuclear weapon of mass destruction." ...
And why does no one ask how North Korea got its weapons in the first place? Can you guess the answer? They were paid for and enabled by the U.S. government. Both the Clinton and Bush administrations played a key role in helping Kim Jong-Il develop North Korea's nuclear prowess since the mid 1990s. The hypocrisy in the U.S. reaction to the North Korean nuclear tests is familiar. Remember when the U.S. cited possession of chemical and biological weapons as a reason to invade Iraq in 2003? Familiar names here. Donald Rumsfeld brokered the deal to supply Saddam with those weapons in the first place. Rumsfeld also presided over a $200 million dollar contract to deliver equipment and services to build two light water reactor stations in North Korea in January 2000, as an executive director of ABB (Asea Brown Boveri).
Rumsfeld was merely following the Clinton administration, who agreed in 1994 to replace North Korea's domestic nuclear reactors with light water nuclear reactors.
Our government-funded "experts" claimed that light water reactors couldn't be used to make bombs. Well, surprise. They can. And we didn't just allow the Korean reactors. We paid for them.
In 2002, the Bush administration released $95 million of American taxpayers' dollars to begin construction of the 'harmless' light water reactors in North Korea. Now the media smokescreen, along with Obama, the UN, Israel and others, are condemning North Korea for testing the very same nuclear weapons technology that was bankrolled by the U.S. government itself. Sanctions are already in the pipeline and the sabers of military confrontation are being rattled.
What's going on here? Just more smoke, to cover up insupportable greedy actions. Smoke, as excuses to destroy and make an example of another country that doesn't kowtow.
These are not isolated incidents. We, the taxpayers, subsidize weapon purchases by anybody; we readily transfer our technology to countries that rank high in global narcotics, terrorist and WMD-related activities; all while a few lobbyists and firms such as Lockheed get fatter and richer.
Unfortunately, this is also the nature of the whole global economic structure we've developed. Like most people, I was unwilling to believe the intentionality of our exploitation of people and planet because the system is so beautifully invisible. First, false economic projections by John Perkins and others (read his 'Confessions of an Economic Hitman') for developing countries.
Then unrepayable "development" loans - which also pay for a military in each country to "protect investments" and control the people. Then the IMF and World Bank's murderously exploitive "Structural Adjustment Programs". It's no accident that three-quarters of the world's urban population lives in slums and dire poverty. It's no accident this breeds disease and anger and violence.
And it's no accident all this has occurred. Read Harvard Business School Press' Race for the World. It's a gleeful layout of the strategies they teach of consolidating the world's wealth in the fewest possible hands. Not yours and mine, or 99 percent of the population's.
Corporate and foreign lobbyists, operating invisibly to media and public scrutiny, are the true "epicenter" of our government, where former public officials and generals get rich peddling their influence to the highest bidders. These groups' activities shape our nation's policies and determine in whose pockets wealth accumulates. The interests of our people and the security of our nation are irrelevant. It's all about power and money.
Without batting an eye, we've allowed outsourcing of our industrial capacity and energy supplies to the point where we couldn't even sustain a war of true defense if we tried. There's several places all this can head, and they're all ugly.
It's time to wake up, America. It's time to stop accepting lies. To speak up and challenge what we're told. To demand change. To refuse support for what is immoral. It's time to change or die.