There comes a moment when the curious young conspiracy investigator must decide what a governmental election is. Elections are staged at uncountable expense like great theatrical productions and may be entirely fake and scripted. They may exist as a pressure valve, to release the pent-up frustration that builds in people’s lives when real wages remain flat, or house prices spiral out of reach. Elections may simply be an elaborate distraction from wider agendas that are being quietly implemented. They may be the ultimate tactic of divide and conquer. They split the populace down the middle every few years, pitting neighbour against neighbour, class against class, even husband against wife.
So what is up for grabs when opposing political parties fight it out? What are the levers of power that await the election winner? How much of a difference does a change of government make? In Australia, the answer is – not much. The prevailing parties are various shades of grey. The Labor party is more supportive of the arts, trade unions, immigration, gender and other perceived equality, and the welfare state. The Liberal party is traditionally more business-friendly, less touchy-feeling, more pragmatic and hard-nosed, and less intrusive, but these issues are just the fringes of what constitutes a society. A change of government largely passes unnoticed for most of the Australian population. The electorate is notoriously docile and disinterested. Those actively engaged in the political process represent a tiny fraction of the wider society.
The US is very different. Tempers run much higher. Political leanings are much more strongly held. Violence is always a possibility. The assassination of political leaders is a prevailing threat. There are red and blue states. People care about who inhabits the White House. The character of the nation’s leader gives North Americans meaning, hope, and the possibility for despair. Trump Derangement Syndrome is a real affliction. Psychologists were inundated with depressed patients following Trump’s ascension.
So what does a political leader actually control? Well, again – not much. They might hold lofty ideas about reforming society, but, once elected, soon find their hands are largely tied. A great deal of power resides in governmental institutions, and although an elected leader might theoretically direct these bodies, the Deep State is real. A newly elected President might get a tour of the CIA headquarters. He will be surrounded by handlers at all times. He will be shepherded selectively through various departments, given scripted replies to questions, and leave the building completely unaware of the operations conducted in his name. The organisation and its activities will remain a mystery. Are they working for or against the President? Only time will tell.
Career bureaucrats deliver the papers that shape all of a politician’s decisions. Several ‘smart men’ advised President Trump that COVID-19 would kill up to 2 million US citizens unless he followed their directives. This is the Deep State at work. Outsiders don’t know the names of these operatives. They serve multiple presidents across lengthy careers. They advise on military matters and security concerns. They frighten leaders with scary propositions like terrorist plots and deadly viruses that threaten to doom a presidential legacy.
Bill Clinton famously remarked to a pesky reporter that there were two governments, and he controlled only one of them. This is true. Voters never have the option of voting for the second government, the Deep State, the Military Industrial Complex, and it just rolls along unchecked. Its actions are never vetted by outsiders. Its secrets remain intact. The NSA may choose to spy on every US citizen, and nobody will be held to account for this gross invasion of privacy and the lies told to protect it. The NSA’s activities are all vital to national security and must remain cloaked in secrecy. Armed guards patrol Deep State buildings, security is impenetrable. We will never know what happens behind closed doors.
President-elect Barack Obama promised to close the harsh detention centres on Guantanamo Bay, but a quiet word from the faceless men killed that idea. Under the Obama administration, hundreds of thousands of drone strikes reigned down on America’s ‘enemies’ across the globe. There was no noticeable softening of foreign policy despite the promises made during the campaign. Deep State actors call the shots. Obama was merely a frontman, applying gloss to the actions of the faceless men. He accepted the Nobel Peace Prize, and then signed off on the murderous drone strikes because they were apparently vital to national security. Smart nameless men told him so.
So, in many regards, our political leaders are merely puppets. We listen to their speeches, we elect the lesser of two evils, and huge elements of the government remain unchanged. Those engaged in politics are so busy fighting the opposing party that they fail to examine the organisations that are apparently under their control. They follow the directives of the ‘experts’. They fiddle about with the minor functions that they can influence.
The Australian Liberal Party always tightens laws relating to trade unions. The Australian Labor party always relaxes them. The Liberals cut arts funding to spurious projects, the Labor party bathes such projects in tax-payer largess. The Liberals might cut the old-age pensions by $10 a fortnight. Labor might raise them by $16 a fortnight. Much rancour is involved in these ‘decisions’. Much bickering is required. Red-faced politicians pound lecterns and hector their opponents. How dare the government freeze funding to indigenous advisory bodies that have squandered billions. How dare the opposition suggest that a public holiday be abolished for reasons of political correctness.
What’s happening behind the curtain? We get the occasional glimpse when Wikileaks does its leaking, or an Edward Snowdon risks his life to spill some state secrets. We get a glimpse when a relentless paedophile and blackmailer like Jeffrey Epstein, who is intimate with dozens of politicians, lawyers, and judges, gets exposed before he is liquidated. However, the mysteries remain largely intact. There are two governments. One is elected and scrutinised, the other protected by impenetrable walls. The conspiracy investigator keeps searching for answers.
G G Novack – Political Correspondent
I wanna know who the men in the shadows are
I wanna hear somebody asking them why
They can be counted on to tell us who our enemies are
But they’re never the ones to fight and to dieJackson Browne