The real numbers behind the fog and smokescreen | Cartoon by :Lisa Benson; Date: 2011-03-17; Source and courtesy – cartoonistgroup.com | Click for larger image.
Deloitte & Touche, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PriceWaterhouseCoopers. They scour the books of 98 percent of American companies with revenue over $1 billion, according to the Government Accountability Office. On the Department of Justice’s preferred gauge of competitiveness, the Hirschman-Herfindahl Index, the industry qualifies as super consolidated.
If auditors aren’t raising rates in line with more laborious fact checking, that raises the question of whether corporate accounts are getting the full treatment they deserve. (via Enron’s worst legacy: auditors too big to fail | Features | Breakingviews).
Super concentration of power. That is what this means.
With one law-breaker or law enforcer, for every 17 adult males, the US is a world leader. For the 70 million American males in the 18-60 years of age who are the predominant target; there are 17 apex American secret service agencies that track these 70 million people. The biggest secret service in the world, the largest prisoner population, in addition to one of the the largest police forces in the world, make US clearly a leader of the ‘Free’ World.
Graphic source and courtesy – economist.com.
With scattered data, protected by legal secret classifications, figures are hard to come by. After two years of work, a recent report describes the US intelligence network that is
so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist. Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 1.5 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances. Every day across the United States, 854,000 civil servants, military personnel and private contractors with top-secret security clearances are scanned into offices protected by electromagnetic locks, retinal cameras and fortified walls that eavesdropping equipment cannot penetrate.
The U.S. intelligence budget is vast, publicly announced last year as $75 billion, 21/2 times the size it was on Sept. 10, 2001. But the figure doesn’t include many military activities or domestic counterterrorism programs. With the quick infusion of money, military and intelligence agencies multiplied. Twenty-four organizations were created by the end of 2001, including the Office of Homeland Security and the Foreign Terrorist Asset Tracking Task Force. In 2002, 37 more were created to track weapons of mass destruction, collect threat tips and coordinate the new focus on counterterrorism. That was followed the next year by 36 new organizations; and 26 after that; and 31 more; and 32 more; and 20 or more each in 2007, 2008 and 2009.
At the recommendation of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission, the George W. Bush administration and Congress decided to create an agency in 2004 with overarching responsibilities called the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to bring the colossal effort under control. 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks. Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year.
Only a handful of senior officials – called Super Users – have the ability to even know about all the department’s activities. But as two of the Super Users indicated in interviews, there is simply no way they can keep up with the nation’s most sensitive work.
The US Government carries out more assassinations, covert operations, killings and bombings than by any other regime, military, terrorist - or even a criminal group.
In more than 50 countries in any month – actually, a figure of 120 countries is being waved around.
Never in Soviet history were there more than 4 secret service agencies in the USSR. Today the US has 17 agencies form what the US calls Intelligence Community. A large rainbow of agencies – CIA FBI, NSA, DEA, DOE, Bureau of ATF, DIA, NRO, NIMA, CTC. NPC. INR. DOE Intel., Army Intelligence et al litter the global scene. Some US Govt. cables, from Wikileaks, quoted US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates on Russia as an “oligarchy run by the security services”.
Going by above data, it would be easier, to describe the USA, using those words.
So much power – in so few hands
2 million people in US prisons. Human beings. All of them. US has more human beings than animals in captivity. More than in any dictatorship. More surveillance cameras and telephone tapping in the US, Britain and Europe than in any dictatorship in the world.
Over the last 25 years, Governments have spent huge amounts of money to intrude and monitor its population. Millions of CCTV cameras monitor people all over the world. Facial recognition software can ‘see-through’ modifications like spectacles, beards, wigs, changes in hairstyle, etc.
In Britain alone, as per count of few years ago, 60 million subjects are tracked by 1.5 million closed-circuit television cameras. In the USA, there are an estimated 30,000 people, who are listening to phone conversations.
Control Over Media
Global media is dominated by a few news agencies like Reuters, Bloomberg, API, and AFP. These agencies in turn are fed by various think tanks and research organizations, which then dominate global debate. In the last few years, top 10 websites control 75% of the web traffic. Hollywood dominates the big screen. Organizations like Google monitor every click on your computer– which is available to any determined bureaucrat. If not easily, with some difficulty.In today’s age, censorship is usually not the answer. More noise is equally effective.
View from Germany
The German magazine, Der Spiegel, in a recent posts analyzed the US situation.
Nearly two-thirds of net private assets are concentrated in the hands of 5 percent of Americans. In comparison, the upper 5 percent of Germany hold less than half of net assets. In 2009 alone, at the same time as the US was being convulsed by mass layoffs, the number of millionaires in the country skyrocketed.
Indeed, if you look at the reports it compiles on every country in the world, even the CIA has concluded that wealth disparity is greater in the US than in Tunisia or Egypt.
A New ‘Gilded Age’
In a book published in 2010, American political scientists Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson discuss how this “hyperconcentration of economic gains at the top” also existed in the United States in the early 20th century, when industrial magnates — such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J. P. Morgan — dominated the upper stratum of society and held the country firmly in their grip for years.
Writer Mark Twain coined the phrase “the Gilded Age” to describe that period of rapid growth, a time when the dazzling exterior of American life actually concealed mass unemployment, poverty and a society ripped in two.
Economists and political scientists believe the US has entered a new Gilded Age, a period of systematic inequality dominated by a new class of super-rich. (via The Second Gilded Age: Has America Become an Oligarchy? – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International).
If the difference in US and German terminology is standardized, Germany is no better than USA.
Combine this power with the less than 5,000 politicians who control the Government; the 50,000 businessmen who control the 2500 biggest corporations, the 25,000 academics who control national thought streams – and then the enormity of the model becomes numbing.
And the Maya माया of it all takes over.
Ghor maya – घोर माया.