And so it begins: Operation 2016 Elections. The corporate media has never been more strategic in its manipulation of information to steer voters to either Democrats or Republicans. After all, the lion's share of the billions raised for campaigns goes to it. In fact, elections are the corporate media's bread and butter. Without the billions flowing to it during campaigns, it would not survive.

Corporate media and the two-party political system are intrinsically intertwined, relying completely on each other's capacities to deliver the maximum level of political division among voters during campaigns. It makes no difference which party the populace supports as long as it is Republican or Democrat. Both achieve this goal with no small amount of brilliance.

Not only has the corporate media achieved political polarization, it has also created a level of ignorance in America that is masterful in its precision. Every socioeconomic issue is framed in a political perspective, delivered to consumers (television, radio, print, Internet) using a conservative/liberal filter. Issues are rarely disseminated based on their merits or lack thereof. Instead, the majority of news is nothing more than informed speculation, giving Americans no real, measurable information upon which to form a meaningful opinion of our own. The result is a blind acceptance of the simpleton opinions of celebrities who could not find a solution in their pockets.

Meanwhile, politicians want us to believe that governance is deeply complex. It really isn't. The once-respected mission of government as an agency tasked with "representation of the people" has morphed into the current "continuity of government" (COG), a mission dedicated exclusively to itself at the expense of the people.

Most Americans know that government is systemically broken. Government knows it, too. There is no reset button, and since government is unwilling to diminish, what do you think the long-range plans for continuity of government look like? If you accept that COG trumps representation of the people, the rationale for many of the policies, legislation, and corporate subsidies becomes clear. Try using this filter for analyzing government business/conduct.

And for heaven's sake, get comfy with the reality that big business is big government. United States, Incorporated, is one of the largest corporations on the globe. It is headquartered in DC and has 50 administrative subsidiaries within each original state, which are also incorporated. Every single public-sector division, whether a state, city, township, county, or judicial district, is also incorporated. These all have financial statements (revenue and expenses, assets and liabilities, etc.) that are disclosed to the public each year in a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) as required by law. (See CAFR1.com for more info.)

CAFRs are very illuminating. Balance sheets reveal assets that produce revenue, which mostly means investment portfolios. Where do you think government funds are invested? Some of the largest holders of private-sector corporate stock are government entities. Is it any wonder that the nation's monopolies and oligopolies, as well as favored sector companies, enjoy massive taxpayer subsidies and positions in management in the executive branch's many agencies?

Do not assume that favored sector companies are based in the United States. According to the recent report Uncle Sam's Favorite Corporations by Good Jobs First (GoodJobsFirst.org) - which tracks private-sector taxpayer subsidies over $500 million - the largest subsidy went to Iberdrola, a solar company in Spain, which received $2.1 billion. The next 10 largest recipients include energy companies both American and foreign, including General Electric (owner of NBC, MSNBC, and CNBC) at $836 million.

This lucrative closed-loop system exists entirely under the radar thanks to corporate media. The last thing it, or the two-party leadership, wants known is that American politics is pure theater to protect incumbents and control access to political seats for a singular purpose: continuity of government.

I mostly blame Americans' lack of imagination and willful ignorance for allowing things to deteriorate this far. In the past two decades, we have had our monetary worth raided via a destructive partnership between government and banksters - a union lauded by corporate media as our salvation. For the corporate media, it was. For our part, most taxpayers lost at least 25 percent of their net worth. Government enacted enforcement legislation in the guise of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), which - instead of restoring reasonable normative economic protocols - commenced with a renovation project for an extravagant new headquarters, originally estimated at $55 million. The cost has now exploded by $160 million and continues to growing. Since Congress has no authority over the CFPB's budget, and cannot compel it to disclose such information, these costs are likely much higher.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton kept a private e-mail server off premise then "wiped it" based on her own assessment of what the public deserved to know. This is as anti-American as it gets, yet she is running for the highest office in the land, for which she will garner Democrats' votes precisely because she isn't a Republican. Never mind the country would still get a transparent-less sneak in the White House.

Clinton's exposure, which came as the result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that led to the discovery of her abuse of power, resulted in the White House officially exempting itself from FOIA requests. (See RCReader.com/y/info1 and RCReader.com/y/info2.)

The Department of Justice is part of the executive branch, so there will be no reckoning regardless of which party controls it. The Department of Veterans Affairs has held countless hearings and uncovered massive corruption within its leadership, and only three individuals have lost their jobs. But whistleblowers who exposed the disgraceful conditions at our VA hospitals have experienced nonstop retaliation, despite all reassurances from Congress to protect their noble acts. Do you honestly think that is an accident? By promising protection to whistleblowers but not actually providing it, the status quo is maintained because whistleblowers will ultimately be deterred.

During the April 13 congressional hearing on whistleblower protections, Representative Tim Walz (D-Minnesota) read aloud synonyms from a dictionary for the word "whistleblower," such as "betrayer," "fink," "informant," "narc," and "rat." Instead of embracing those courageous enough to expose bad acts, we as a society consider such conduct in the poorest of lights. Yet without whistleblowers, we would not know a fraction of the entrenched corruption that plagues our country. (See the Reader cover story "The War on Whistleblowers" for more info.)

The corporate media no longer engages in genuine investigative journalism of wrongdoing by either government or industry leaders. The antagonistic, competitive relationship with authorities that once defined the press is long gone. It has been replaced by a much-improved, highly sophisticated propaganda machine (owned by fewer than 10 conglomerates worldwide) with one primary directive: Keep the two-party political system intact at all costs. This directive also includes disenfranchising the American people from their own governance, a distinctly un-American posture. The formula for all current news is "less merit and more emoticon equals critical-mass immobilization and perpetual preservation of the status quo."

Premium Content: