1. “Empires Then and Now
Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire further east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.
The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.
In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage. ”
2. “What NPR means by “reporting”
She would undoubtedly believe that this report to which she just subjected the world — one that is about as one-sided, biased and opinionated as can be: Iran is offensively launching Terrorism at the world and the U.S. must stop it – is a pure example of objective reporting. That’s because “objective reporting” to such people means: endorsing, embracing and bolstering the prevailing views of the U.S. government and official Washington in order to inculcate the citizenry to believe them. Doing that can be called many things: “Objective” and “real reporting” are most definitely not among them.
There’s one prime reason why Americans are so uninformed about what their government does in their name around the world (Why do they hate us?). It’s because “news stories” from “even liberal media outlets” like NPR systematically obscure those facts, disseminating pure propaganda from America’s National Security State masquerading as high-minded, Serious news.”
3. “Several things characterize countries of the Third Word, whatever precisely “Third World” means.
The first is corruption. America is rotten with it, but American corruption is distinct from corruption in, say, Guatemala or Thailand, being less visible and better organized.
Several major differences exist between the usual corruption in the Third World and that in America. In most of the Third World, corruption exists from top to bottom. Everyone and everything is for sale. Bribery amounts to an economic system, like capitalism or socialism. By contrast, in the United States, graft flourishes mostly at the level of government and commerce. You don’t (I think) slip an admissions official at Harvard twenty grand to accept your shiftless and dull-witted slug of a misbegotten offspring. Nor do you pay a local judge to drop dope charges against your teenager. And in the Guatemalas and Egypts of the planet, corruption tends to be personal. The briber and the bribed act as individuals.
In the United States, corruption occurs at the level of policy and contracts, between corporations, special interests, and Congress. It is done gracefully and usually legally. For example, Big Pharma pays Congress to insert, in some voluminous bill that almost no one will read, a clause saying that the government will pay list price for drugs instead of negotiating for a better price. Over time, this is worth hundreds of millions, paid by you. Yet the clause is legal. Or military industry pays Congress to buy an enormously expensive and unneeded airplane. It’s legal. Read the bill. Or agribusiness pays Congress to cough up large subsidies. Also legal.
Second, unaccountable and often intrusive police not subject to control by the public. In America formal police departments rapidly grow more militarized, jack-booted, swatted-out, and their powers grow. A law-abiding citizen should never be afraid of the police, and a misbehaving cop should worry intensely when said law-abiding citizen records his badge number with intent to call the chief. Those days are over. Today the cops can bully, threaten, and harass, and there is precious little you can do about it. The proliferating laws against filming the police can have only one purpose, to prevent exposure of misbehavior. Third World.
Any organization involved in controlling a population is a de factor police outfit, as are TSA, “Homeland Security,” the FBI, NSA, ICE, and so on. Against none of these does the citizen have any recourse. In principle, yes, but in practice, no. Third World, but far more efficient.
Third, lack of constitutional government. This is not the same as the lack of a constitution. The Soviet Union had an admirable constitution, and paid no attention to it. America heads rapidly in the same direction.”