December 19, 2018
How Deep Is the Rot in America’s Institutions?
September 9, 2019
by Charles Hugh Smith, Of Two Minds:
Either we root out every last source of rot by investigating, indicting and jailing every wrong-doer and everyone who conspired to protect the guilty in the Epstein case, or America will have sealed its final fall.
When you discover rot in an apparently sound structure, the first question is: how far has the rot penetrated? If the rot has reached the foundation and turned it to mush, the structure is one wind-storm from collapse.
How deep has the rot of corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty penetrated America’s key public and private institutions? It’s difficult to tell, as the law-enforcement and security agencies are themselves hopelessly compromised.
If you doubt this, then please explain how 1) the NSA, CIA and FBI didn’t know what Jeffrey Epstein was up to, and with whom; 2) Epstein was free to pursue his sexual exploitation of minors for years prior to his wrist-slap conviction and for years afterward; 3) Epstein, the highest profile and most at-risk prisoner in the nation, was left alone and the security cameras recording his cell and surroundings were “broken.”
If this all strikes you as evidence that America’s security and law-enforcement institutions are functioning at a level that’s above reproach, then 1) you’re a well-paid shill who’s protecting the guilty lest your own misdeeds come to light or 2) your consumption of mind-bending meds is off the charts.
How deep has the rot gone in America’s ruling elite? One way to measure the depth of the rot is to ask how whistleblowers who’ve exposed the ugly realities of insider dealing, malfeasance, tax evasion, cover-ups, etc. have fared.
America’s ruling class has crucified whistleblowers, especially those uncovering fraud in the defense (military-industrial-security) and financial (tax evasion) sectors and blatant violations of public trust, civil liberties and privacy.
Needless to say, a factual accounting of corruption, cronyism, incompetence, self-serving exploitation of the many by the few, etc. is not welcome in America. Look at the dearth of investigative resources America’s corporate media is devoting to digging down to the deepest levels of rot in the Epstein case.
The closer wrong-doing and wrong-doers are to protected power-elites, the less attention the mass media devotes to them.
As for Corporate America’s fraud and corruption: No Wrongdoing Here, Just 6,300 Corporate Fines and Settlements (May 2015). Prosecutors no longer indict bankers, CEOs or top executives. Wrist-slap fines are deemed adequate punishment, even when corporate managers have reaped billions of dollars in profits selling highly addictive and dangerous drugs while claiming they’re safe and non-addictive.
The tens of thousands of Americans who’ve died from these drugs suggest this was never true.
All this rot–corruption, fraud, abuse of power, betrayal of the public trust, tax evasion, blatant criminality and insiders protecting the guilty–has consequences. As I explained in Crony Capitalism Is Kryptonite to Democracy and the Real Economy (October 6, 2014), When the machinery of governance is ruled by the highest bidders, democracy is dead. (Hmm, why is Facebook suddenly spending $100 million on lobbying?)
Or as correspondent Simons C. recently put it: “The ethical dimension underpinning the whole system is this: what’s moral is what’s legal and what’s legal is for sale.”
W. O. Belfield, Jr.