Science is embraced when it is used for purposes such as weapons or surveillance technology development, but rejected when it is used to develop alternative energy sources, study the effects of carbon emissions on the planet or question the government's version of events.
12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. "Normal" and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or "traitors" was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.
Under the guise of the wars on terror and on drugs, U.S. police forces are almost completely militarized and are allowed to violate the Constitutional rights of the citizenry at will. The U.S. has by far the highest incarceration rate in the world . There are now more Americans in jail -- more than 6 million - than there were in Stalin's Gulag . Military weaponry and gear was on full display as police from Los Angeles to New York cracked down on OWS protests. Since September some 6,700 Americans protesting against economic inequality and corporate greed have been arrested . Many were beaten or pepper-sprayed. (See video).
Three provisions of the PATRIOT Act of 2002 were reauthorized by President Obama in 2010, giving law enforcement an expanded ability to gain access to personal financial, travel and communications records and to conduct secret searches. The Federal Restricted Building and Grounds Improvement Act (HR 347) makes protesting in areas where the US President, or anyone protected by the Secret Service may be visiting, a felony punishable with hefty fines and up to 10 years in jail. In a recent Republican Presidential debate, Americans even cheered for the 234 executions in Texas under Governor Rick Perry.
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
Cronies in U.S. government positions commonly award non-competitive contracts to former employers, who in turn, thanks to the Citizens United ruling, can now kick limitless amounts of money back into elections. The lack of competition and oversight leads to corruption.
No-bid, sole source, cost-plus contracts in Iraq were awarded to Halliburton and its subsidiaries while then-Vice-President Cheney, a former board member, held stock options in the corporation. According to a military census, in 2006 there were about 100,000 contractors in Iraq performing security and other logistical functions.
Private contractors are used more now than ever as more and more public functions are being privatized. A Baton Rouge company, Innovative Energy Management (IEM), lacking evacuation experience was paid $500,000 by FEMA to handle the emergency preparation and evacuation of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. IEM was a large contributor to President Bush's campaigns and the Republican National Committee. The Bush-appointed head of FEMA at the time was Michael Brown, an old friend of Bush's with no experience in disaster management.
Cronyism and corruption continues with the Obama administration and has exploded in the financial sector. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, former New York Federal Reserve chairman, has close ties to former Goldman Sachs CEO Henry Paulson and to Lawrence Summers. Geithner authored the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 giving banks free reign over derivative trading in energy futures, leading to a spike in gasoline prices .
Summers pocketed $5 million as a managing director of D.E. Shaw, one of the biggest hedge funds in the world, and another $2.7 million for speeches delivered to Wall Street firms that have received government bailout money. This includes $45,000 from Citigroup and $67,500 each from JPMorgan Chase and the now-liquidated Lehman Brothers. Summers is also a leading advocate of banking deregulation.
Michael Froman , deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, worked for Citigroup and received more than $7.4 million from the bank from January of 2008 until he entered the Obama administration in 2009. This included a $2.25 million year-end bonus handed him within weeks of his joining the Obama administration. Citigroup has thus far been the beneficiary of $45 billion in cash and over $300 billion in government guarantees of its bad debts.
Obama's deputy national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, was paid $3.9 million by a Washington law firm whose major clients include Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and the private equity firm Apollo Management. The list of Wall Street cronies in government - David Axelrod, Louis Caldera, David Stevens, Neal Wolin, is seemingly endless. While the TARP bailout was signed into law by the Bush administration, the administration of funds was done at the hands of all of the above.
The result of these reckless policies are plain as day - a new ruling class with $13 trillion of public IOUs added to the national debt. Much of this was paid out in salaries and bonuses and to "make themselves whole" by paying on their bad risks in default. American taxpayers, on the other hand, got rising unemployment, collapsing infrastructure, a steady rise in home foreclosures, inflation and increased levels of economic stress. Bush-Obama policies have benefited those who wield real power in the capitalist world - the financial oligarchs and militarists who prospered from the bailouts and "War on Terror" military spending.
14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.
It is difficult to choose where to begin: Bush v. Gore in 2000, Voter ID laws , the swift-boating of John Kerry, the birther movement, portraying Obama as "secret Muslim", "un-American", "anti-business", "socialist"; "Our highest priority is to make Obama a one-term President", redistricting, denying minorities and college students the right to vote, easily-hacked electronic voting machines , no viable third party candidates, super PACs. It takes no more than a casual observer to know that the U.S. election process is fraudulent . The end result is a choice between two candidates vetted by the banks and corporations with little or no differences in policies.
The 2000 Presidential election may go down in U.S. history as the point of no return to not only fair elections, but also to a representative form of government. It came down to votes in Florida. The race was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court in favor of Bush even though Gore won the popular vote by over 500,000 votes. Secretary of State Katherine Harris, a Bush supporter, oversaw the certification process. On November 22, the anniversary of JFK's assassination, Republican protestors pounded on the doors and windows of the building where Miami's Dade county officials were counting the ballots.