Year Zero

One of the strangest things about Trump’s election victory is that 2016 became Year Zero. Everything bad with America began at that point and no history is allowed before.

This willful blindness has the considerable advantage to our feral elite, absolving them of all of the horrible policies that made the election of Trump possible. Once that reset is finalized, everything that happened before Year Zero will effectively be off-limits. Everything that happened after that is a damn shame. And no one but Donald Trump are to blame for any of the havoc and tragedy you see all around you. Indeed, political operatives in both parties are busy erasing evidence of their culpability in the crisis that’s overtaken our country.

Nothing to see here.

I’m sure that Trump’s election wasn’t caused by the Bush administration’s lawless invasion of Iraq, and aggressive neoconservative foreign policies of murder, torture and endless war. Or the imposition of a corporate healthcare monstrosity like Obamacare, that was modeled on a right-wing Heritage Foundation plan.

No sir.

Trump’s election certainly wasn’t caused by greedy US corporate executives outsourcing American manufacturing jobs to China. Or the de-industrialization of America, which saw the systematic shutdown of auto, steel and other factories across our country, devastating working-class cities such as Detroit, Milwaukee, and Youngstown, Ohio. All of these places that voted for Trump.

I wonder why?

The bi-partisan deregulation of finance, followed by the largest banking crash since the Great Depression, leading to skyrocketing inequality, had nothing whatsoever to do with Trump’s surprise victory.

No way.

The GOP never utilized a Southern Strategy, and Trump is definitely the first racist president.

It’s true.

The crazy idea that there’s some kind of an American empire is Russian disinformation. Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, was the epitome of peace. His administration didn’t overthrow the Libyan government, or overthrow the Ukrainian government, or attempt to overthrow the Syrian government using Al Qaeda terrorists.

We’d never.

Identity politics at the expense of class based politics by our so-called opposition party certainly had nothing whatsoever to do with Trump’s election.

It’s impossible.

The idea of a competent national governance that cares for all Americans has never been questioned. We never had a cadre of neoliberal ideologues claiming that government should be “drowned in a bathtub”. We’ve also never privatized basic services such as education and health, or allowed public facilities and infrastructure to fall into disrepair.

Never would do it.

And, finally, we never had an unbroken record of elite failure after elite failure, after elite failure.

They couldn’t.

Yet suddenly and without warning the Orange-Man-Bad showed up and body snatched the entire virtuous, enlightened and competent American government while we weren’t looking.

The whole shuck and jive is darkly humorous, as well as extremely enlightening about the corporate media’s propaganda role.

What’s not funny is that the election of 2020 is an election of zero’s. A choice between Donald “grab them by the pussy” Trump and Joe “creepy uncle” Biden.

Some fucking choice.

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It’s the empire, stupid!

9/11 and the “War on Terror” radically transformed America. Since the end of WWII the US has been the dominant world power but after the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon the “gloves came off”. The neocons had been plotting this transformation since the fall of the Soviet Union but liberal intellectuals and the liberal corporate media were maybe worse in their embrace of a lawless and heavily militarized empire. I remember being shocked listening to a liberal academic on NPR calmly speculating that, just hypothetically, at some point in the not-too-distant future, we might need to sacrifice our principles a bit, and torture some people, to “keep America safe.”

It didn’t end with the Bush Administration. For all the campaign blather about Hope and Change, Obama maintained the neocons foreign policy of murder, torture and endless war, while adding indefinite detention. The WikiLeaks Collateral Murder video offers a chilling glimpse into the actions of our lawless empire, where US helicopter pilots casually gun-down civilians, like it was just another day at the office. This revelation of the dark underside of empire is, by the way, the source of liberal anger against Julian Assange, who is smeared as an agent of Russia.

As you may have heard, masked men without badges are jumping out of unmarked vans and grabbing people in Portland. This is what empire brings. It is what Americans have inflicted on others, and it is coming home. As I’ve stated here before: what happens on the periphery of empire always come home. It’s essentially a lesser version of what America taught Latin American nations to do at the School of the Americas. Americans have also spent a lot of time teaching other people how to do this, and in Iraq and Afghanistan and elsewhere where they were “advisors” have engaged in such behavior themselves. When American citizens started to question our system of inequality, it was inevitable that such tactics would be used against them also.

Going further, I’ve come to believe that empire is the real cause of liberal angst in the age of Trump. After all, it’s liberals who’ve been behind all the deep state machinations because they find Trump wholly undependable as manager of U.S. empire. If you will recall from the way-back machine, Trump ran against our worldwide empire and in the Republican debates criticized the invasion of Iraq as a huge mistake while linking this criticism to Obama’s regime-change policies. All of the attacks on Trump have come from this bi-partisan defense of empire, from Russia-gate to Ukraine-gate to the criticism of Trump failing to establish a no-fly zone in Syria, etc. With this perspective, is it any surprise that liberals joined the intelligence agencies to spy on members of the Trump campaign?

Indeed, the most amazing thing about the Trump presidency has been the response by liberals, where they’ve continuously attacked him from the right.

Of course, this behavior has consequences.

Right now our bi-partisan deep state insists that we initiate a new Cold War with both Russia and China. All of this in the teeth of a terrifying pandemic that our vaunted National Security State seems powerless to do much about.

A new Cold War does have the great advantage of diverting attention from our government’s incompetence in coping with the pandemic. It is just possible to get distracted amid the threat of a new Cold War, and their intention is certainly that we forget and don’t blame them for fucking-up the response to a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Unfortunately, this is the behavior of an empire in its twilight, where it thrashes around, desperately engaging in more and more of the destructive actions that led to its decline.

Hold on tight.

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I’m re-reading Matt Taibbi’s, Hate Inc., and enjoying it even more than the first time. Written as an update to the classic–Manufacturing Consent–it’s a great primer on media malfeasance and how we came to have a con-man as our president. The chapter where he deconstructs Trump’s campaign through the lens of pro-wrestling is priceless.

I do have one minor quibble.

Taibbi is basically writing a mea culpa for his part in feeding the corporate media beast raw meat and he makes plenty of great points about how the news is simply another product they sell us. And he has some great advice about not getting to caught up in the voluminous product in that we can’t do anything about it. But the part about financial products caught my eye. He says we can’t hope to understand any of these financial products like credit default swaps or derivatives because they are too opaque.

My quibble is that Taibbi is relegating this opacity to economics. Instead, it’s clear that the reason these financial products are opaque is political. It’s predicated on the immense power of the financial and banking industry with their legions of lobbyists and riches of campaign donations.

As we’ve witnessed, over the last several decades Wall Street has carried out an epic crime spree due to opacity. As heterodox economist Michael Hudson, repeats endlessly–opacity is the necessary first step to looting.

This state of affairs hasn’t always been thus. From the banking reforms of the New Deal until a bi-partisan push to deregulate finance in the 1990’s, banking was highly regulated and as a result was staid, boring and modestly profitable, while the productive economy boomed.

Now the fiendishly complex field of finance has become a lot more exciting, and immensely more lucrative for Wall Street, while the productive economy has stagnated.

This state of affairs is the ultimate political question– how do we maintain a productive economy rather than an extractive one?

Right now it’s not looking good for the home team. In the face of a new a terrifying pandemic our corporate governance responded with the largest upward transfer of wealth in history, leaving banks and corporations with record-high stocks while killing small businesses and abandoning the public after handing some of them a paltry $1200, all while failing spectacularly to address the threat of the virus itself.

This financial abuse is happening right out in the open, right in front of everyone.

I don’t profess to understand credit default currency swaps anymore than Taibbi but I do know the consequences of an opaque financial system.

Bad-shit happens.

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Cultural Revolution

It appears that the Chinese have exported their Cultural Revolution to the US in return for US corporations exporting American manufacturing jobs to China. This Cultural Revolution has been enormously beneficial to our feral elite in dividing and ruling, by using group antagonism to distract from the problems created by globalized markets while blaming individuals for social problems to prevent those problems from becoming political questions. This means that the conversation is always focused on race, gender, sexuality, religion, and other cultural touchstones. These “identity politics” have produced the cancel culture in which individuals face social and political sanction if they refuse to fight the Cultural Revolution, fight for the wrong side, or fight with insufficient fervor.

Mao would be so proud.

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The Last Taboo

It will be interesting to see if Ghislaine Maxwell survives her incarceration to give testimony about Jeffery Epstein and his child-sex blackmail ring.

I’ve always thought the story to be fascinating in that it’s a window into how the deep state operates, and the fact that opaque and unaccountable intelligence agencies use child sex slavery to blackmail powerful world leaders and manipulate our society. Indeed, the real story of Epstein and Maxwell is the systematic entrapment and blackmailing of major political and economic figures the world over.

Maxwell, like Epstein, was never the lead player in the sexual blackmail op. However, she does know where the bodies where buried, so to speak. Her father Robert Maxwell was a British media tycoon with close ties and connections to British and Israeli intelligence, who died under mysterious circumstances, and was given a state burial in Israel, where the Prime Minister, Ehud Barak. and no less than six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence attended.

This is by far the most sensational aspect of the Jeffery Epstein/Ghislaine Maxwell story. Israeli intelligence agencies and especially Mossad appear to be running pedophile rings that blackmail Western political, business and scientific leaders. Philip Giraldi, a highly-regarded former CIA officer, suggested that Epstein had probably been working for Mossad, operating “honey traps” to obtain blackmail information on all the wealthy and powerful individuals whom he regularly plied with underage girls.

It seems that Ghislaine was not only a madame to Epstein but also to the ruling elite. This would both explain her popularity and the fact that the corporate media treats her with kid gloves.

If you peruse the corporate media for details there’s plenty of salacious gossip but any mention of Israeli intelligence gathering is strictly off-limits. Thanks to internet sleuths much of the story has been speculated on. After it was revealed that Epstein had evaded stricter sentencing in 2008 due to his links to “intelligence,” it was the Mossad ties of Ghislaine Maxwell’s father that have led many to wonder if Epstein’s sexual blackmail operation was sharing incriminating information with the Mossad. Whitney Webb from Mintpress has found many of the stories related to Epstein and Maxwell. Some of them mention the Mossad connection and others note the orgies.

Of course, for Mossad to be running this sort of honey-trap, blackmail operation on American soil the CIA, FBI and other US spy agencies would have to be aware, wouldn’t they?

I’ve come to believe that this all is connected to the US deep state but also global politics involving sex trafficking, drug and arms trade, money laundering, Ponzi schemes, spy networks and blackmailing for Mossad. Sexual blackmail – especially involving little children – can be an extremely efficient way to influence key politicians and even military officials. Epstein’s victims were caught in a web of international spy network that used them as pawns for blackmail operations. The younger the girls were, the more leverage Israel would have over politicians, billionaires and scientists. Thus Epstein and Ghislaine tried to also recruit girls who were well under the age of 16

The decades have certainly softened the effectiveness of many forms of blackmail. I’m not sure that the old adage about a politician ending his career by being caught in bed with either a live boy or dead girl applies in the age of Trump. But pedophilia still ranks as an extremely powerful taboo. Career ending.

And, this brings us to the heart of the matter. Given that intelligence agencies in the U.S. often conduct covert operations for the benefit of oligarchs and large corporations as opposed to national security, the use of child-sex blackmail to control politicians should make us seriously question our representative form of democracy.

The Clinton’s are a good example of this dynamic. Despite the Clinton’s willingness to embrace corrupt dealings during the span of their political careers, their mostly friendly relationship with this network still saw them use the power of sexual blackmail to obtain certain policy decisions that were favorable to their personal and financial interests but not to their political reputation or agendas.

And certainly not favorable to we the people.

Maybe what this case really represents is that any politician who makes it to the national stage is compromised, a puppet being wielded by unseen actors?

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State Media

Despite the myth about a vaunted Forth Estate that holds power accountable, the press in the US operates with all of the conformity of a state run media, censoring alternative narratives and ensuring that the neoliberal/neoconservative party line is dominant.

But, of course, that’s not what the elite broadcasters and journalists believe. They believe that what they report is the “truth”. That nobody tells them what to write or say, yet will then report exactly what unnamed Western intelligence operatives tell them, and then turn around and tell you without a hint of embarrassment that Russia and China are evil because they have state media.

These trends of media conformity and propaganda have long been visible but since the election of Trump they’ve gone into overdrive. It’s been clear since Russia-gate that our feral elite had settled on a more aggressive form of social control via nonstop disinformation presented as headline news based on spurious accusations from anonymous sources, none of who were were ever identified, and none of whose claims could ever be verified. During the last 4 years the media has continued this propaganda campaign without pause and without ever acknowledging that its central claims have been exposed as lies.

The way mainstream news outlets consistently refuse to account for a fact so obvious and indisputable as intelligence agencies being known liars should by itself be enough to discredit the entire institution of mass news reporting. I mean, seriously, Mike Pompeo boasted that the CIA lies as a key part of its job, and crickets.

Going further, after the lies used to drive the invasion of Iraq any journalist who relies on the word of an off the record intelligence operative should be considered a propagandist.

Yet here we are with the latest New York Times bombshell about shadowy Russian intelligence outfits providing bounties to the Taliban to kill US soldiers being treated as established fact throughout the entire political/media class and down through the entire population of propagandized rank-and-file citizenry.

These flimsy, poorly-sourced allegations are being hammered into mainstream liberal consciousness on a daily basis now in the exact same way that Russia-gate was, and just like with Russia-gate the narrative they are being used to shape helps advance military expansionism and new cold war escalations which just so happen to fit perfectly into pre-existing geostrategic agendas of empire. The reason for this is because the propagandists who manufacture consent for imperialist agendas understand that truth and facts matter far less than does mindless repetition and emotion.

Even with the Covid-19 pandemic and unrest in American cities over police violence our reality remains forever war with a state media to make it so.

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It Works

I was ready to write another post equivocating the two political parties when I saw that John Bolton had released his memoirs, where he claims Trump is a danger to the republic. Well that did it. I’ve been on the fence but if John Bolton says that Trump is a danger to the republic then it’s time I joined the resistance.

Hah, hah, hah!

In his memoir Bolton also informs us that President Trump is erratic. Who knew? Bolton, the former National Security Advisor who once threatened the children of a UN official, joins former president George W. Bush as the latest hero of the resistance. Maybe Ellen will have him on her show for a hug?

Anyway, lately I’ve been getting a lot of push-back about being a Trump supporter. Let me reiterate something longtime readers know. I despise Trump and the Republicans just as I despise Biden and the Democrats. What can I say? I’m an equal opportunity hater.

America is a violent empire that rules the world while pretending to be a beacon for peace and democracy. Only people who are willing to keep these psychopathic mechanisms in place are permitted to ascend to the highest political office. While the corporate media focuses on the relatively minor differences between candidates, you can learn a lot more about our political process and what drives it by looking at their similarities.

But that’s not what most Americans believe. They’ve been propagandized to embrace the tribalism that the billionaires that control both political parties use to divide and rule.

You know–Team Red vs Team Blue.

For instance, I’m supposed to mindlessly support Team Blue Team even as they perpetuate their lesser evil shtick. For decades the Democrats have offered solutions that don’t work, and have exhausted the number of times they can tell people, vote for us now and we will deliver for you later. However, for 2020 election they’ve selected Joe Biden as the Democratic nominee. Joe-fucking-Biden? His whole record is one of monstrous policies and decisions. If you thought Hillary was bad, you haven’t seen anything.

And this is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it’s quite simply that the billionaires have bought the government, and it no longer works for us. Biden won’t really do anything different, he’ll just have better PR, and the corporate media will signal that everything is now “normal”. This is hardly a surprise. We are currently living in the failed-state that Biden has worked his whole career to create.

But he’s the Team Blue product and that’s what they are selling.

Political messaging is similar to product advertising. Economic theories of rationality posit that consumers are rational but everyday this theory is disproved by advertising designed to make consumers irrational. It’s the same with political messaging and propaganda.

Regarding the vast U.S. media propaganda machine, Chomsky famously said long ago that propaganda was even more crucial in democratic societies. In a totalitarian regime, the government can control the population with force and violence, imprisoning or executing dissidents. But in a democratic society, citizens have the power to vote and change the government. Therefore, it is more necessary in a democratic society to control how the public thinks using advertising and propaganda.

The ad men in politics who are able to capture the imaginations of these lied-to, thwarted people rely upon tropes that were first promulgated in selling used cars. Call it what you like—relativism, postmodernism, deconstruction. The lesson is one and the same: The truth is not out there waiting to be objectively uncovered. The truth is made. Facts are fabricated as seen fit by the powers that be, and then consent for those facts is manufactured, enforced.

Thus we are bombarded by advertising for shitty products, and propaganda for shitty candidates and policies because it works.

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Color Revolution

The recent Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests have got my spider sense tingling.

After studying regime-change operations for decades I know one when I see one. Going further, this looks to be a continuation of the deep state coup that began the moment Donald Trump was elected. It appears that the US which has been enthusiastically promoting “color revolutions” around the world is now experiencing one.

Remember, at CK we: follow where the money is going; follow where the resources and weapons are going; follow what our feral elite are doing; and ignore all the narrative.

Using this formula the riots take on a much different look. By following the money, resources and weapons, actors, and examining the propaganda it’s apparent that the Democrats and corporate media are using these riots against Trump’s bid for reelection. For instance, through the non-profit industrial complex, the Democratic Party has mastered bringing various social movements under its management on behalf of Wall Street in order to funnel public funds into private control through various foundations.

It’s humerous that many who correctly identify right-wing groups such as the Tea Party as the work of astro-turfing by the Koch Brothers seldom apply the same scrutiny to seemingly authentic progressive movements assimilated by the Democrats.

There’s a lot of truth to the loony right-wing ravings about the nefarious activities of Geoge Soros and his Open Society Foundation (OSF), although not in the way they imagine. Soros is hardly the vanguard of socialist revolution of their fevered dreams. Rather he and his foundation, similarly to other NGO’s like the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), operate as cut-outs for the CIA to disguise its regime-change operations. The spy agency operates this way thanks to the exposure of its illicit activities in previous decades by the Rockefeller Commission and Church Committee in the 1970s.

Corporate America also appears to be backing these riots to the hilt. When we look at who’s supporting Black Lives Matter – and Antifa – we find, among others, Adidas, Amazon, Airbnb, American Express, Bank of America, BMW, Burger King, Citigroup, Coca Cola, DHL, Disney, eBay, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, IBM, Mastercard, McDonald’s, Microsoft, Netflix, Nike, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble, Sony, Starbucks, Twitter, Verizon, WalMart, Warner Brothers and YouTube.

However, like Soros, I somehow doubt that corporate America is supporting the protests out of some new sense of community spirit. Instead, corporate anti-racism is the perfect response to decades of neoliberal austerity. Black lives matter to corporate America, as long as workers don’t demand a living wage, personal protective equipment and quality health care.

Then there’s the strange role of the corporate media in relation to the protests. Why have they fanned the flames of social unrest from the very beginning, ignoring the ruin and devastation while cheerleading the demonstrations as a heroic struggle for racial justice? Is this is the same media that supported every bloody war, every foreign intervention, and every color-revolution for the last 5 decades? Are we really expected to believe that they’ve transformed into an energized proponent of social justice?

I call bullshit. The media’s role in concealing the damage should only convince skeptics that the protests are just one part of a much larger operation. What we’re seeing play out across the US, has more to do with toppling Trump and sowing racial division than it does with the killing of George Floyd. The scale and coordination alone suggests that elements in the deep state are probably involved. For instance, who positioned pallets of bricks close to protests? Furthermore, we know from evidence uncovered during the Russia-gate probe, that the media works hand-in-glove with the Intel agencies and FBI while–at the same time– serving as a mouthpiece for elites.

Since the election of Trump there has been a war within the deep state for supremacy, with various factions jockeying for power. To this analyst it appears that rather than a real popular protest movement, the BLM movement is a tool in the hands of one faction of the US deep state against another faction. Maybe these protests, like the color revolutions our elite sponsor in countries they want to overthrow, are managed? Maybe the protests are merely a disguise for a “color revolution” that bears a striking resemblance to the more than 50 CIA-backed coups since the end of WWII?

It’s ironic that many of the same ideas about revolutionary action have come home. In the last decade, the United States has experienced protests and demonstrations that have happened previously in 3rd World countries the US wanted to overthrow. Instead, domestically the CIA cutouts in the non-profit industrial complex have played a pivotal counterrevolutionary role, such as sabotaging Occupy Wall Street, in co-opting and ultimately derailing such uprisings meant to bring systemic change to the U.S. political system.

So while the protests over the killing of George Floyd and police brutality are real and legitimate there’s also a good chance that they’ve been hijacked.

Since 2016, the liberal wing of the deep state has diverted all opposition to Trump into a new cold-war against Russia and soft-coup attempt in the interests of the military- intelligence community, a shared agenda with Soros. When the Democrats, corporate media and NGO’s like the OSF and the NED have declared their support for protests like Black Lives Matter, it is no longer just about its original cause of getting justice for Mr. Floyd, whose funeral became a virtual campaign rally for Biden.

If it quacks like a duck it’s probably a duck.

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Political Codependency

Both of our political parties use race to take advantage of their constituents. The GOP scares lower-class white people to vote against their class interests by invoking the specter of “big-black-bucks purchasing T-bone steaks with food stamps”, or something. The Democrats snooker their black supporters into sticking with a party that has betrayed them for decades, culminating in a black president–Barack Obama– who presided over the destruction of a generation of black wealth.

Talk about codependency. It’s like watching a pair of abusive relationships play out.

As a result of this cynical abuse of race, America has the most flimsiest of social welfare programs of any western democracy, which suits our feral elite just fine.

It’s ironic that 50 years after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated while attempting to united whites and blacks with his Poor Peoples Campaign, race is still dividing America culture, resulting in the horrendous inequality and lousy public services producing mass despair and severe social dysfunction. King understood that much of the animosity between races was stoked deliberately as a way to fracture class unity. When he was assassinated King had shifted his focus to economic issues after observing that gains in civil rights had not improved the material conditions of life for many African-Americans.

I firmly believe that King was assassinated precisely because he had moved beyond simply talking about civil-rights for African-Americans and had trained his focus on the economic and militarized forces that marginalized black and white working-class Americans.

Since King’s assassination both parties have contributed to the structural policies that have seen racism continue. In the 1968 Presidential election Republicans launched their “southern strategy” to win over resentful white Democrats after the civil rights revolution, while Democrats have abandoned workers for the Professional/Management/Class (PMC’s) and substituted Identity Politics for meaningful economic policies. Indeed, the social and economic bargain between labor and capital that brought prosperity for half a century ended suspiciously close to when African-Americans gained civil-rights. The 1940s through the 1970s was a time when Wall Street had lost its power and relevance, and the American economic order was a diversified mix of manufacturing, agriculture, services, social welfare, military equipment, research, and high-technology. Since then there’s been a vicious counter-attack, with race playing a central role. Economic uncertainty is now the order of the day for the vast majority of Americans thanks to the greed of our putative leaders.

Growing economic uncertainty for larger numbers of people puts further stress on already stressed marriage and family and community relationships. White people are encouraged to blame black people for the loss of their jobs rather than the white corporate executives who sent their jobs to China. This was most evident in the deindustrialization of unionized heavy industry. Offshoring steel and automobile production had a special role in fueling racial tensions. White workers usually had a longer tenure of work, and according to union rules would be the last laid off because of this tenure. So offshoring would cause black layoffs first, and then white layoffs. Civil rights groups rightfully understood that as racist, but few recognized the largest context that racial tension was a result of white and black workers feuding over a smaller and smaller pie.

For both political parties, divide and rule are the order of the day. Both parties, controlled by predatory financial elites, have worked aggressive to break our public institutions so that we can’t collectively do politics.

Going forward we have two paths. Restoring a stable social contract broadly will mean restoring the ability to do politics, to rearrange our productive capacity in ways that are safer, more efficient, and more fair, which will necessarily mean a reorganization of power. Or it will require a far more authoritarian society, one in which we accept a much higher level of security spending to protect a narrow elite from a disempowered and angry populace.

The riots are a start in that they got our feral elites attention. Americans are showing the rich and powerful the limits of their power and that of their violent militarized police, and our elite are making concessions. However, while police and social reform are long overdue, calls for abolishment or defunding the police are crazy and will play into the strength of Trump and the “law and order” crowd. Not only that but it’s dangerous. It poses a real threat to working class neighborhoods that would be disproportionately impacted by such a radical action. Defunding the police would put every American at greater risk of bodily injury from individual or gang violence. The rich can pay for their own security, but that’s not a luxury working people can afford. Going further, privatizing the police would be a neoliberal wet dream, something our Ayn Rand loving, tech-libertarians have wanted for ages. They would be perfectly happy to use these protests to make it happen.

If history is a guide these protests are more of our dysfunctional political codependency and represent the triumph of  “woke” neoliberalism that has subsumed the Democratic Party. Instead of uniting us in a fierce battle against Wall Street and its broad daylight robbery of what is left of American wealth, “woke” neoliberals are promoting a race war. Their silence on Wall Street looting is hardly an accident. They are supported financially and by Wall Street and global financiers. This funding means that, in practice, they operate as a controlled opposition. They maintain their relevance by sustaining social and racial tensions that draw attention away from Wall Street and its crimes.

Combating America’s police brutality and racial discrimination are vitally important but fueling a race conflict is the worst possible path toward eliminating both racism and discrimination. Such a tactic will only deepen the divide that already splits the American working class.

Instead the focus should be on inequality and the massive looting operation that Wall Street is conducting. The focus should be on universal economic policies that unite all Americans without regard to race, gender, or sexual orientation.

Dr. King showed us the way 50 years ago.

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Corporate Control Area


Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.

The election of Trump has always been useful in exposing the contradictions between the narrative of a “bright shining city on the hill” and the brutal reality.

That is what we are witnessing here. We are witnessing cognitive dissonance on a national level, where all the narratives about our political, media and cultural institutions are shown to be ephemeral. Our country teeters on the edge of stability.

No one who’s payed attention should be surprised. Our neoliberal elite have spent the last decades hollowing out government to the point that I’ve come to believe that we are instead inhabiting a series of competitive control areas or CCA’s. A CCA is an area where criminal organizations or extremists exert greater control over the territory than any government. Typically this formulation is reserved for failed-states in the Third World. But in our case instead of drug gangs or warlords the countervailing powers that exert the control are corporations.

And, this is starting to be a problem. Nowadays, the state’s political processes and its structures have been almost completely captured by corporations. As a result, the maintenance of internal and external security is less about ensuring an orderly and safe existence for citizens than about creating a space for globalized businesses to plunder local resources, exploit local labor while paying little or no taxes and taking no responsibility.

In Leviathan, Thomas Hobbs argues for a social contract and rule by an absolute sovereign. Hobbes wrote that civil war and the brute situation of a state of nature (“the war of all against all”) could only be avoided by strong, undivided government.

But, government rests on the consent of those it governs for its monopoly of violence. As citizens, we give up our right to commit violence ourselves and replaced it with a social contract in which our representatives legislate just laws on our behalf. Unfortunately, our government has been teaching us that we, increasingly, don’t matter. Instead, the state has become a hollowed-out vessel through which corporations order their business agendas. States function primarily now to compete with each other in a competition to reduce the obstacles facing global corporations as they seek to maximize their wealth and profits in each others territory. The state’s role is to avoid getting in the way of corporations as they extract resources (deregulation), or, when this capitalist model regularly collapses, come to the aid of the corporations and banks with generous bailouts.

A healthy state–one that genuinely cared for its citizens–would be capable of finding ways to accommodate discontent before it reaches the level of popular revolt. The scenes playing out across the US are evidence that state institutions, captured by corporate money, are increasingly unable of responding to demands for change. The hollowed-out state represents not its citizens, who are capable of compromise, but the interests of global forces of capital that care little what takes place on the streets of Minneapolis or New York so long as the corporations can continue to accumulate wealth and power.

And our police, in case you’ve ever wondered, don’t serve you. They mostly serve them.

The timing of this very public act of murder could not have been worse. There were already rumblings of discontent over federal and state authorities’ handling of the new virus; fears over the catastrophic consequences for the US economy; outrage at the massive bailouts for the biggest corporations but $1200 for ordinary workers; and the social and personal frustrations caused by the Covid-19 lock-down.

There is also a growing sense that both Republicans and Democrats could care less about the plight of average Americans and only do the bidding of their rich campaign donors. The response to the pandemic has only deepened this suspicion.

The protests against police violence are just the latest sign that our feral elite are losing their legitimacy, slowly but surely.

Even if these protests are crushed, or die down, I’m pretty sure it isn’t the last of them.

Like I’ve said before, this looks to be a long, hot summer.

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