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Date: Thursday, 18 April 2024


Eric Zuesse (blogs at

By overwhelming margins, the American people believe that their Government is corrupt, and the polling shows that the margins who believe this have soared from over 80% in 1976, to over 90% today. The American people overwhelmingly distrust their top ‘elected’ officials. Skepticism of the U.S. Government’s legitimacy is very high, but whenever a candidate comes along who condemns the U.S. Government (not condemns merely the opposite political Party), and proposes basic change to make it into a democracy, the voters reject that person, perhaps because they’ve not been taught the distinction between patriotism, on the one hand (which is to the public, and not to the Government), versus loyalty or nationalism (which is to the Government, and not to the public), on the other. It’s a crucial distinction, but none of the mainstream media even mentions it, far less discusses it. In other words: America’s mainstream media (“journalists” as shown in the above-linked-to source), who are the people that taught Americans what they know about the American Government today, are almost as highly distrusted in the United States as the top Government officials themselves are. Essential truths are censored-out, and Establishmentarian falsehoods are allowed in and are widely spread by their media as-if those were truths. 

Though Americans are very distrustful of ‘their’ Government, their distrust of American ‘news’-media is also high. The result is that the public are fundamentally confused, and, so, any candidate who rejects the Government instead of rejects merely the opposite political Party, is viewed as being a radical — and all of the mainstream media, and of the political incumbents, smear all radicals. The voter then believes what one’s own corrupt Party says, and each of those Parties smears anyone they call a “radical.” So: no radical has a chance to win. This is why Americans vote for rotten political leaders. Like FDR said, “The only thing we have to fear is: fear itself.” Each person, guided by that person’s political Party, against the opposite Political Party, instead of against the tiny number of the billionaires who actually fund most political campaign-spending and most of the ‘news’-media in America, for both Parties. So, it’s like the public are walking around blind, and bumping into things they don’t correctly identify. What is being feared is the wrong thing: the opposite political Party, not those few super-rich (who aren’t even on the political or policy-making stage), though both Parties serve only those super-rich — both the Republican ones and the Democratic ones — and not the public.

There is an adage “The fish rots from the head first”, meaning that corruption starts from the top, such as the employer who incentivizes employees to cut corners in order to maximize profits that will go to the employer, and so forth. For example, this is the reason why prosecuting a crime-boss is far more important than prosecuting any of that organization’s many lower-level operatives. In a capitalist economy, such as the United States, the actual Government isn’t merely the public office-holders, such as the President and the members of Congress, but is also the owners of the giant armaments-manufacturing firms such as Lockheed Martin, whose customers aren’t the public, but instead are the Government itself and its foreign ‘allies’ or colonies that are virtually required to purchase their weapons from those U.S. firms, such as by requiring all NATO member countries to buy only weapons that meet U.S. standards.

Unlike regular corporations, ‘Defense’ contractors need to control the Government in order to control their main market (that Government) and their subsidiary markets (the ‘allies’) — and they can, and do, control their markets (especially the U.S. Government), and this is how the military-industrial complex works, in a capitalist economy. (By contrast, in both Russia and China, the military manufacturers have remained under the Government’s control, so that the Government controls the armaments-manufacturers, instead of being controlled by the armaments-manufacturers.)

Not all of America’s military expenses are being paid-out from its ‘Defense’ Department, but there is another approximately equivalent amount that gets budgeted instead to the U.S. Treasury Department, Energy Department, Veterans Affairs Department, and Homeland Security Department, so that the official military budget — that of merely the ‘Defense’ Department — will seem to be only around 37% of the world’s annual military expenditures, instead of its actual around 50%+ of all of the world’s expenditures for the military, which is the reality: America is currently spending around $1.5 trillion per year on its military, and the entire rest of the world (all of the other nearly 200 countries combined)) is likewise spending around $1.5 trillion on the military; so, in terms of military spending, America’s military dwarfs any other nation’s. For example, whereas America has exactly 900 foreign military bases (in addition to the 749 that are inside America), the second-largest number is its sidekick the UK’s 145 foreign military bases; and the U.S. and UK regimes have functioned together as one, in all major international matters, ever since 1945; so, the total, of both America and England combined — the unified U.S./UK empire — is 1,045 foreign military bases, all over the world. No other nation has more than the 4 that China has as-of 28 March 2023, the first of which China established, in 2017, in Djibouti, at the inlet into the Red Sea whose outlet and opposite end is the Suez Canal, which is a crucial part of China’s multi-trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative. All four of China’s foreign military bases are crucial to protecting China’s ability to engage in international commerce — none are for imperialistic reasons as the 1,045 U.S./UK empire’s foreign military bases are. In short: China’s are to protect and preserve China’s sovereignty over China, and not to extend and expand America’s sovereignty to include even more colonies (‘allies’). 

So: America’s corruptness is controlled from the very top: the billionaires (and their millions of employees and other agents) who (by means of lobbying and of donating to political campaigns) control who gets elected and who doesn’t, and what laws get passed and which don’t, and what foreign policies get implemented and which don't. Basically, the elected officials are just front people, for those extremely super-rich ones behind the scenes and out of the spotlights.

According to the U.S. Congressional Budget Office, “The Budget and Economic Outlook: 2024 to 2034”: “Federal outlays in 2024 total $6.5 trillion, which amounts to 23.1 percent of GDP.” $3.9 trillion of that is “Mandatory” meaning Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, plus some other far smaller mandatory programs. The “Non-Mandatory” or “Discretionary” portion of the $6.5T total is $1.739T; and $822 billion of that amount goes to the ‘Defense’ (aggression) Department, while $917 billion goes to “Nondefense” including all of the rest of the $1.5T that ALSO goes to the military; so that, of the entire $1.739T “Discretionary,” $1.5T goes to the military, and a mere $239 billion of it goes to all other Governmental purposes combined — but yet another $870 billion goes to pay “Net interest” on the existing $34T federal debt.

Since almost all of the military spending is waste, which does little or nothing to defend this country against any real military danger, but much to increase the American empire (such as to retain Ukraine in it, and to get Taiwan into it), all of these expenditures should be placed into perspective. The total amount going to Social Security in 2024 is $1.453T, and the total amount going to the “Major health care programs” is $1.574T. The total amount that Russia spends on its military (an amount which Western ‘news’-media hide, such as here and here and here, and such as this — which cites only rubles, and provides no means of converting them to dollar-amounts — because what Russia spends on its military is so small as compared even to America’s low-balling published military-expense figures), was reported honestly at only Bloomberg News, of all U.S. major ‘news’-media, and it's $112 billion (far less than one tenth of what America is spending) — and Russia actually needs to spend that much, because the U.S. imperial regime and its colonies are trying ultimately to conquer and take over Russia (which is why they’ve moved NATO right up to Russia’s border). Russia isn’t doing anything to take over the U.S., much less to take over the entire U.S. empire. The U.S. empire’s criticisms against ‘Russian imperialism’ are a bad joke, just a Big Lie, and blatantly so. But the U.S.-and-allied media sow it incessantly.

So: it’s clear that most of America’s corruption is in service to the controlling owners of firms such as Lockheed Martin — the firms whose bottom lines are larded with U.S.-and-‘allied’ governments’ cash. Unfortunately, this fact is unpublishable in the U.S. empire, and — for whatever reason — also not published even in the countries that they’re still trying yet to conquer.

And what about Transparency International’s annual “Corruption Perceptions Index” rating and ranking Governments on ‘corruption’? It’s fake, and its ‘perceptions’ are those that are supplied by U.S.-and-allied hired outside ‘experts’, not of the rated countries’ actual residents; and TI itself was created by former officials of the U.S.-controlled World Bank in 1993, soon after the Soviet Union ended, so as to downgrade the credit-ratings of Governments that wouldn’t cooperate with the U.S. Government. 


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse’s latest book, AMERICA’S EMPIRE OF EVIL: Hitler’s Posthumous Victory, and Why the Social Sciences Need to Change, is about how America took over the world after World War II in order to enslave it to U.S.-and-allied billionaires. Their cartels extract the world’s wealth by control of not only their ‘news’ media but the social ‘sciences’ — duping the public.

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