PayGo

 

PayGo is bad economics and bad politics, but naturally it was the first order of business for the newly elected Democratic Speaker of the House–Nancy Pelosi.

Despite resistance from progressive Democrats, the House rules package for the 116th Congress will include the PayGo provision, requiring all new spending to be offset with either budget cuts or tax increases, a conservative policy aimed at tying the hands of government.

We’ll get to the bad economics in a moment but in terms of politics, the rule would make it more difficult for Democrats to pass a host of progressive policies popular with the American public, like: Medicare for All; a Green-New-Deal; or tuition-free public college. Meanwhile PayGo creates an unlevel political playing field, where Republicans get to blow giant holes in the tax code, as they did with the 2017 tax cuts, while Democrats must pay fealty to the deficit.

Going further, PayGo symbolizes the Democratic role in the kayfabe we call politics here in America. I’ve come to believe that the modern Democrat’s role is to stymie progressive change by posing as the “liberal” political party arrayed against the “conservative” party role played by the Republicans. And, of course, Trump, who’s a member of the World Wrestling Hall of Fame, is the master of ceremonies.

You can observe this with Hillary Clinton and now Nancy Pelosi admonishing progressives like Bernie and AOC that we can’t possibly afford a Green New Deal, or Medicare for All, or free college education. We saw it when progressive hero, Barak Obama, lied about governemt spending when he stated that–“small businesses and families are tightening their belts. Their government should, too.” in response to the Wall Street crash. That this scolding was subsequent to his providing the banks with a trillion dollar bail-out only added to the irony.

I used to refer to the Democrats as the Washington Generals, but now, with PayGo, I believe a crude sexual metaphor is infinitely more appropriate. Laugh all you want, but it’s clear that the Democrats are cock-blocking progressive policies.

Once you understand the Democratic role, American politics makes a lot more sense. It’s all a big-fucking morality play with the actors playing his or her assigned role, while the media breathlessly provides a thrilling narrative of strife and drama. In the meantime, the real power in America–the interlocking financial corporations, trusts, and hedge funds–laugh all the way to the bank.

As far as the economics, it’s imperative to understand that PayGo is an artificial constraint on US spending. The US maintains a fiat currency, where we are able to spend money into existence. The US Treasury could spend this money into existence, but allows the banks to maintain this privilege. (You, dear reader, probably have never been made aware of such arrangement.)

This financial slight-of-hand demonstrates the power of Wall Street bankers, in that we have changed our financial dependency from being self-reliant and printing our own debt-free money to being indentured to international bankers who charge us as they print money out of thin air and charge future generations for it. Indeed, for the financial sector, the most important privatization is that of money creation. The aim is for economies to become dependent on bank credit rather than government spending to provide the money and credit to grow the economy. As Amschell Rothschild is claimed to have declared–“Give me control of a nations money supply, and I care not who makes it’s laws.”

To make sense of all of this it’s imperative to understand a bit of economic history. Classical political/economists such as Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill, made a distinction between earned and unearned income and attempted to tax unearned income to provide a low-cost, free-market, where small businesses could flourish. The aim of classical economics was to tax unearned income, not wages and profits. The tax burden was to fall on the landlord class first and foremost, then on monopolists and bankers. The result was to be a circular flow in which taxes would be paid mainly out of rent and other unearned income. The government would spend this revenue on infrastructure, schools and other productive investment to help make the economy more competitive.

As you might imagine, banks and other financial interests were not amused by such developments and an epic struggle ensued. In his book, Killing the Host, heterodox economist Michael Hudson says that “an economic fight ensued and the parasites won. The first thing rentiers – the financial class and monopolists, a.k.a. the 1% – did was to say, ‘We’ve got to stop teaching the history of economic thought so that people don’t even have a memory that there is any such a thing as economic rent as unearned income or the various policies proposed to minimize it.” 

Indeed, neoliberals, most notoriously the University of Chicago’s Milton Friedman, insist that there’s no distinction between earned and unearned income. And, since most of the wealth and income of the richest 1% and the banks and interlocking financial corporations  they own is unearned income or rent, guess which version of accounting won out?

We have the opposite of a free market. Instead, we confront a new form of capitalist order: the merger between the finciancial interests and the state. Financialization is the major dynamic polarizing the US economy. It’s aim is to appropriate the means of production and rent-extracting privileges for a creditor class to load labor, industry, agriculture and governments down with debt.

The same power operates on the global stage through international institutions and regulatory bodies that do not even pretend to be democratic such as WTO, IMF, and World Bank.

The surge in populism that resulted in Brexit, the Yellow Vests, the election of Hungarian president Viktor Orbán, and US president Donald Trump are all in response to this financial take-over.

Make no mistake, PayGo represents another variant of the response our leaders have for such rebellion–There is no Alternative.

 

 

 

 

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A crisis of ideologies

 

I find it darkly amusing that neoliberalism and neoconservatism are losing legitimacy by the day, while political leaders and the corporate media warn of the disintegration of the “western-liberal-order.” That these two ruling ideologies are imploding says a lot about short-sightedness of our ruling elite, who are panicking as the damage becomes harder to ignore.

The best example of this serial failure is Trump’s trade war with China.

Neoliberals imagined that they could outsource American manufacturing to China and take full advantage of this labor-arbitrage scheme to maximize their stock portfolios while American workers could pound sand.

Didn’t work out that way, did it?

Trump’s election seems to be in part due to the blow-back from these neglected workers, who’ve watched as both parties encouraged the corporate off-shoring of their middle-class jobs and accompanying destruction of their town and cities.

And Apple betting the store on China for their supply chain and for sales, and then having both bets explode at the same time, seems like a well-deserved fuck-you to forty years of deindustrialization and neoliberal triumphalism.

Meanwhile, neoconservatives thought that they could create a cadre of comprador millionaires they could control, never imagining that the Chinese had other ideas. And, recently their non-stop hostility towards Russia, perversely, drove Russia and China into an anti-US alliance, violating centuries of realpolitik guidelines about keeping enemies divided.

Since the end of the Cold War the neocons have squandered all the good will that the US enjoyed with their never-ending series of conflicts. Despite a nearly sixfold increase in the frequency of its use of force, the US has clinched few, if any, decisive military victories in recent decades. Instead, US neocon instituted regime-change operations have aggravated the pathology of broken, corrupt, and dysfunctional politics across the region, from Afghanistan, to Iraq, to Libya, to Syria, where successive Republican and Democratic administrations have created ongoing quagmires.

Trump’s election seemed to signify a defeat for neoconservatism, as he rebuked decades of Republican foreign policy orthodoxy with his criticism of the invasion of Iraq. The neocons were exposed as charlatans, who lacked a clear constituency outside the rarified world of right-wing think-tanks.

However, the neocons are anything if not resilient, with a corporate media fan-club that has allowed them to remain relevant in the face of Trump’s foreign policy apostasy, as the latest flip-flopping on US troop withdrawal from Syria demonstrates.

This poses an interesting question. Why would Republican politicians respond by once again seeking out the neocons’ counsel? Why, far less, would Democrats? And why would much of the news media, grappling with historic levels of public distrust, accept neoconservatives and neoconservatism as the baseline for foreign policy analysis?

Why indeed?

Back in March 2016, as Hillary Clinton’s campaign geared up to woo Republicans, one observer raised doubts: “Now that the neocons [have] been revealed as having no real grassroots to deliver, and that their actual constituency consists almost entirely of a handful of donors subsidizing a few dozen think tankers, journalists, and letterheads, why would Democrats want them back?” This insight might have benefitted the Clinton campaign, which lost the pivotal states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin where communities suffered high casualties in Middle East wars criticized by Trump.

I firmly believe that the reason the neocon enjoy such oversized influence, despite a long track record of failure, is because both parties and the corporate media are always pro-war.

Thus, the Washington Post admonishes Trump not to listen to Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and warns that–“In the run-up to 2020, Trump should realize that most Republicans—and most Americans—favor a robust U.S. foreign policy.”

Yeah, right. That’s why Trump was elected. Because Americans want more forever wars.

What’s the definition of insanity?

It won’t surprise you to learn that our elite have a response to their crisis of legitimacy.

The Russians did it.

Don’t laugh, there’s a method to the madness–to get us all scared about Russia–to deflect from real issues that the same elites who are sounding the alarm about Russia are responsible for. That goes double for the Democratic elites who lost an election to Donald Trump, got totally discredited and embarrassed, and had their agenda rejected by a sizeable amount of voters in the Rust Belt which has suffered from neoliberal policies.

Unfortunately, we can expect our elite to cling stubbornly to their ruling ideologies of neoliberalism and neoconservatism even as they stand in tatters. The problem is that this is the behavior of elites in fading empires, where societies schism into two unequal parts: a dominant minority that monopolizes the political system and its payoffs; and an internal “proletariat” that carries most of the costs of the existing order of things and is denied access to most of its benefits.

Unless something drastic happens in 2019, I expect both parties to offer the same policies that have devastated the country: more government largesse for the corporations and the rich, more austerity for everyone else, more malign neglect for the US infrastructure and our environment, more wars in the Middle-East, and more of a dangerous new Cold War against Russia.

 

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Hard men with guns

 

President Trump announced recently that US troops would be leaving Syria, setting off a firestorm of criticism across the political spectrum and echoed by the corporate media.

In the middle of this barrage of negative publicity it’s useful to examine the history of the Syrian conflict, where the facts of the US involvement are slowly coming to light.

That the US and its regional partners, including Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Qatar, utilized Al Qaeda and ISIS to overthrow the Syrian government of Bashar Assad is not something the bi-partisan political establishment and their corporate media handmaidens want to discuss. As a result, the American people remain largely ignorant of this dirty foreign policy secret.

In fact, the progressive hero Barak Obama signed a presidential finding (Operation Timber Sycamore) calling on the CIA to work with Saudi Arabia (the paymasters) to overthrow Assad. Obama, seeking to avoid strong US public opposition to yet another Middle-Eastern conflict with US troops on the ground, chose to back jihadists instead.

In a little noticed foreign policy speech, then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, made the case for arming the anti-Assad opposition in Syria. “In a conflict like this,” she said, “the hard men with the guns are going to be the more likely actors in any political transition than those on the outside just talking.”

How ISIS overran large swaths of territory in northeastern Syria and established its de facto capital Raqqa is scarcely understood, let alone discussed by Western media. That is largely because the real story is so inconvenient to the established narrative of the Syrian conflict, where Assad is blamed for every atrocity. However, the documented evidence firmly established the success of ISIS as a byproduct of the semi-covert American program to arm the so-called moderate rebels.

A classified Defense Intelligence Agency memo distributed across Obama administration channels in August of 2012 warned that jihadist forces emanating from Iraq aimed to exploit the security vacuum opened up by the US-backed proxy war to establish a “Salafist principality in eastern Syria” — an “Islamic State,” in the exact words of the memo.

Referring to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia’s Syrian affiliate by its name, al-Nusra, before Western media ever had, the DIA emphasized the close ties the group had fostered with Syria’s  so-called moderate rebels: “AQI supported the Syrian opposition from the beginning, both ideologically and through the media. AQI declared its opposition to Assad’s regime from the beginning because it considered it a sectarian regime targeting Sunnis.”

The memo was authored under the watch of then-Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who was convicted this year of failing to register as a foreign agent of Turkey (not Russia). Predictably, the document was ignored across the board by the political establishment and corporate media. Meanwhile, heavy weapons were flowing out of the U.S. Incirlik air base in Turkey and into the hands of Sunni terrorists across the Syrian border.

For anyone paying attention, the story of the US support for Al-Qaeda and ISIS as a means to overthrow the government of Bashar Assad was always hiding in plain sight. Think about it. How did ISIS gain such power and presence in a world where an all-powerful U.S. military and surveillance system which can read license plates from space but couldn’t find convoys of Toyota pickup trucks moving terrorists into Syria?

In my opinion, Syria was the neocons response to the failure of the invasion of Iraq that perversely strengthened their arch-enemy Iran. It was to be their masterstroke regime change operation that would advance every major U.S., Israeli and Saudi objective while thoroughly destabilizing the Levant and setting the stage for wiping out Iran and eventually Russia.

But, of course, they fucked it up leaving a destroyed country and a pile of corpses. However, thanks to the Russian intervention, Syrian forces have largely prevailed and the country is slowly returning to normalcy, with Christmas being celebrated in many parts of the country for the first time since the start of the civil war.

Back in the USA, the irony of the establishment criticism of Trump’s foreign policy apostasy is that the very same people who are now criticizing the president were responsible for the invasion of Iraq, which all of the disasters in the Middle-East stem from. Neoconservatism, it seems, never dies. It just mutates constantly to find new ways to intervene, to perpetuate forever wars, and to utilize monsters to carry out barbaric policies.

As we contemplate this latest US effort to utilize the “hard men with guns” we would do well to reread Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, where the creature Dr. Frankenstein created eventually broke free from his control and began acting like the monster he was.

 

 

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Lost their minds

 

Liberals have lost their minds over something Trump did.

I know, big surprise.

This time, what’s got them in a tizzy is Trump’s announcement that he’s pulling US troops out of Syria, where they’ve been stationed illegally as part of a long-running regime-change operation aimed at the Syrian government of Bashar Assad.

In a predictable reflex, many of the anti-Trump liberals have portrayed this move as a dastardly conspiracy done on behalf of Russia.

The freak-out says so much about the mentality of the American elite class and its corporate media handmaidens, who’ve managed to convert a sizable number of liberals to neoconservatism. For these minders of the American empire, the US is obviously the only sovereign nation on earth, where rules of international order don’t apply.

So while Trump’s latest foreign policy pronouncement doesn’t really tell us a lot about US foreign policy actions, the reaction of the liberal-class tells us us quite a bit about about the domestic politics that keeps us trapped in a failing empire.

Liberals seem to have forgotten that Trump was elected in part due to the American people being sick and tired of US foreign policies of regime-change and endless war. What may not be apparent to the coastal elites, is that Americans in the so-called “flyover states” are weary of watching their neighbors and kin return from the endless deployments missing a limb or suffering from PTSD, or in a closed coffin accompanied by bereavement officers solemnly reciting the sacrifice made for America.

In this light, Trump is doing exactly what he promised to do in his campaign. 

However, the deep state has made it quite clear that any sort of retreat from empire is unacceptable. Indeed, what’s become apparent during the first years of his administration is that Trump can have all the foreign policy ideas he wants, but the Pentagon, State, the intelligence apparatus, and the rest of what some call the “Blob” will either reverse, delay, or never implement any policy not to its liking.

So we’ll have to wait and see what this development brings.

What’s amusing, in an Orwellian sort of way, is that the anti-Trump liberals who are protesting the president’s announcement seem convinced that the US is occupying Syria to spread peace and democracy while protecting helpless Syrian civilians from murderous Russian and Syrian air-strikes, when the truth is that the US has been using terrorist proxies such as Al-Qaeda and ISIS to wage a savage civil war in an effort to overthrow the Syrian government.

For instance, on 24 March 2013, the New York Times bannered “Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.”, and reported that “From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons.” The US Government tried to hide its involvement in this, by doing it through allied “Arab governments,” which were named in this news-report: “Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been shipping military materials via Turkey,” and all four of these Governments (US, Sauds, Turkey, and Qatar) were trying to overthrow Syria’s Government. Then, on 8 September 2014, AFP headlined “Islamic State fighters using US arms: study”, and they reported that the US Government was supplying ISIS. On 1 September 2017, Russian Television reported that the US Government was secretly supplying weapons to ISIS and that an anti-Assad fighter had even quit the CIA-backed New Syrian Army because of that. There is also considerable other evidence that the US Government has invaded, and been occupying, parts of Syria, solely in order to replace Syria’s Government by one that would be controlled by the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia.

Clueless liberals also seem to have missed the fact that our Syrian misadventure is totally in line with the Yinon Plan.

Former British ambassador Craig Murray describes the aims of the Israeli plan for control over the Middle-East“The chaos of this incoherent and counterproductive strategy is, peculiarly enough, what the neocons actually want. Perpetual war and destabilisation in the Middle East is their goal. … Today, by keeping Arab populations poor and politically divided, the neo-cons believe that they enhance the security of Israel, and they certainly do facilitate the access of western companies to the oil and gas of the region, as we see in destabilised Iraq and Libya.”

Of course, discussing the collusion between Israel and the “Blob” would be considered anti-Semitism, and we can’t have that now can we?

The people who voted for Trump will welcome the move to remove US troops from Syria. One hopes that he can expand on it by further decreasing the influence of Saudi Arabia and Israel on his policies.

For the rest of us out here in the blogosphere, 2018 has been batshit crazy, with a frenzy of neo-MacCarthyism, where liberals started accusing people of being “traitorous agents of Trump and Moscow,” and openly calling for a CIA coup, because we were “facing a national security emergency.” As we approach the new year, millions of Trump-hating liberals are still eagerly awaiting the proof of Trump and Putin’s collusion that Robert Mueller is sure to provide, any day now.

I swear if I hadn’t spent my whole adult life studying US propaganda I would be gobsmacked by the reaction of our elite liberal class.

They really have lost their fucking minds.

 

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The Triumph of Conservatism

 

Classic liberalism is a formulation of ideas about human freedom, markets, and representative democracy. But in modern day America it has largely become a conservative cover for a corrupt status quo represented by neoliberal economic and neoconservative foreign policies. Liberalism has become less an ideology of progress, and more a cover for the abuses of Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and the military/industrial/complex, ultimately allowing for a rationalization of the massive inequality that plagues our nation.

It’s taken me a while to understand this reality but the election of Barak Obama with his campaign slogan of Hope and Change then betrayal helped open my eyes to the role that liberalism plays. As bad as George W. Bush was, it was liberal Obama who codified the new plutocratic status quo of too big to fail banks, permanent bailouts for corrupt financiers, and a never ending Long-War at the edge of the empire. Obama, even proposed cutting hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare and Medicaid funding in 2011, as part of budget-cutting deal with Republicans. I don’t think it’s much of an exaggeration to claim that Obama enacted George W. Bush’s third and forth terms.

Many liberal defenders of Barak Obama will angrily reject this comparison and point to the Affordable Care Act as proof of their champions progressive inclinations.

In The Triumph of Conservatism, Gabriel Kolko examines the Progressive era of the early 20th century and found that, contrary to perceived wisdom, US corporations welcomed additional governmental rules, regulations and controls precisely to drive out competitors and to increase market share, allowing them to create stable monopolies and oligopolies. Fast forward to the present and we can observe the same dynamic at work with Obama-Care, where the US government forced Americans to buy a corporate health insurance product that provided scant health-care. Indeed, neoliberals, like Obama, seek a strong state in order to herd Americans into their market-based utopia.

Since the crash of Wall Street and the election of Barak Obama, liberals have positioned themselves as the persistent agents of conservatism, often directing greater hostility towards constituencies on the Left than those on the Right to which they are ostensibly opposed. Their mantra was to move to the right to compromise with reactionary Republicans on neoliberal policies like the privatization of education, while fretting about financial responsibility and runaway entitlements. To fund their political ambitions, liberals lawmakers fraternized with bankers and CEOs because of the money needed for their next campaign. Faced with the choice between the radical policies of Bernie Sanders vs the neoliberal/neoconservative policies of Hillary Clinton in 2016, the liberal establishment made its choice quite clear, as the leaked DNC e-mails demonstrated.

I’ve come to realize that the role of liberals and liberalism more generally, is to support the ruling class while marginalizing and dismissing any working-class dissent as racist, fascist, nationalistic and other words expressly intended to push dissent into the political wilderness. This role helps explain why identity-politics has replaced a broad class-based politics with the Democratic Party.

It’s been obscured in the non-stop hysteria over Trump but the actions of the previous administration made the election of the Donald possible. What has been lost among the incessant focus on Trump and the public’s derangement over the infant in the White House is a true accounting of previous administrations actions and how the tenets of endless wars and unchecked globalism have remained unchanged.

Going further, I truly believe that the reason the political and corporate media establishment hates Trump is that Trump has succeeded in is ripping off the mask of our politics and showing the world the true face of our governance where both parties compete to service our all-American plutocracy.

As much as the establishment tries to pin the ills of the world on Trump and spins exotic narratives of Russian interference, the truth is that Trump would not be president today if Obama had brought hope and change.

 

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The target audience

 

Lately I’ve come to the conclusion that the really good propaganda is aimed at a liberal audience, because conservatives already (generally) agree with the message being promulgated by the corporate-media, that of favoring the interests of capital over labor, a robust US empire, and man’s dominion over both woman and nature.

Liberals, on the other hand, need to be reassured that going along with neoliberal economic policies and neoconservative foreign policies is the moral thing to do, and that moreover, our plutocratic owners really do care about homosexuals, or people of color, or feminists, or the environment. Going further, isn’t that a pretty fair description of the liberal propaganda campaign based around the identity politics which have replaced the class-based politics formerly practiced by the Democratic Party?

For the liberal propaganda complex Trump has been a godsend. Liberal hatred of Trump is so extreme that the NPR listening, New York Times reading, liberal is willing to go along with almost anything in opposition to the hated president. Russia-gate is the ultimate example of this phenomenon, where liberal hatred of Trump has intensified a new Cold War against Russia, where one miscalculation could end life on earth.

For me, there’s been a silver lining. Trump and the liberal hatred he’s engendered has confirmed that the liberal mass media acts as powerful supporters of the status quo, while they’ve been forced to drop the pretence that they are impartial, independent and progressive. This process has resulted in the so-called liberal media getting weirder and more desperate by the day. Not since the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq have we seen mainstream media outlets aggressively pushing the conventional wisdom narrative, while relentlessly censoring alternative viewpoints.

Along those lines, “fake news” has come to define any anti-establishment narrative that challenges the pro-neoliberal consensus that favors predatory financial capitalism, privatization of government services, and endless wars of aggression. “Fake news” is now a pejorative being hurled at any of us who are  critical of western governments and media, and who expresses skepticism of establishment narratives around 9/11, Syria, and Russia, Iran, etc. “Fake news” has become a key part of the frantic urgency that we are seeing from the establishment propaganda machine that is nothing other than an attempt to regain control of the narrative.

Today, the ultimate thought crime is doubting the official narrative.

Worst of all for the powers-that-be is that distrust of the official narrative is spreading. In France we’ve been seeing uncontrollable protesters from across the political spectrum, and activists writing “We’ve chopped off heads for less than this” in graffiti on the Arc de Triomphe, which you can be certain has caught the attention of our rulers.

Never forget that the corporate mass media uses the power of narrative to determine what the public believes in order to keep them from rebelling against a elite status quo. Without this propaganda assist the plutocrats that control the US state would not be able to rule.

Once upon a time truth was considered to be the best defense for propaganda. During the Cold War there was little effort to silence Soviet propaganda. Anybody could listen to Radio Moscow, read Soviet newspapers or anything else. We didn’t worry too much: truth was the best defence. But the USSR did worry and it spent enormous efforts jamming Western broadcasts.

The corporate media is losing credibility by the day and the reason is simple–the side that’s blocking the other side is afraid of the truth, it’s afraid of dissent, it’s afraid of freedom.

 

 

 

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Better villains, please

 

If we’re going to be an evil empire, can’t we at least have more competent villains?

Take former Secretary of State, and recent unsuccessful presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. In an interview she bemoaned how the surge of immigrants to Europe was contributing to the popularity of right-wing populism.

What, perchance does Madam Secretary think caused the influx of immigrants to Europe?

Maybe it was the wars and regime-change operations directed by the US against Libya, Syria, Yemen, and Iraq, while Clinton was Secretary of State?

And what of American fortunes in the wake of of our decades long Middle-Eastern misadventures?

I think that a complete and utter cluster-fuck would be a generous assessment. U.S. military actions since 9/11 have been poorly conceived, poorly enacted, poorly explained and produced clearly negative results both overseas and domestically. It’s difficult to find a part of the world where an actual American interest is being served by Washington’s foreign and global security policies. Going further, a national security policy that sees enemies everywhere has made nuclear war thinkable once again.

The fact that no one is the media or political class is even talking about that terrible danger suggests that war has become an acceptable foreign policy option for the White House, Congress, and the media. Which brings us to George W. Bush, and how this very same pro-war consensus has succeeded in returning the former president to respectability, while adding him to the pantheon of #Resistance hero’s, all the while airbrushing away the fact that Bush and his gang of neocons are largely responsible for much of the mayhem that we see in the Middle-East today.

And what discussion of incompetent villains would be complete without Donald Trump?

To be fair it wasn’t all Trump fault. He had a lot of help. Going back to the transition period between the outgoing Barack Obama and the incoming Trump, everything imaginable was done to poison Trump’s early days as President. Take Russia-gate. The idea that Trump and Putin could establish normal relations was anathema to the deep state actors that have dogged Trump’s presidency. He’s been bogged down ever since.

Making matters worse, Trump has retained the same crew of neocons who can’t-shoot-straight to mismanage his foreign policy, although at this point it’s become obvious that the neocons only have one move when confronted with failure–double-down. We’re witnessing this doubling-down with the recent adventures of Ukraine attempting, no doubt with ample neocon encouragement, to draw Russia into a shooting war in the Kerch Straight.

Luckily, the Commission on National Defense Strategy for the US has just released to Congress its report “Providing for the Common Defense”. The report’s co-chairs, Eric S. Edelman and Gary Roughead, say in their accompanying letter to Congress, that “the United States will soon face a national security emergency.” It doesn’t describe that emergency, but uses the report to argue that defense spending needs to soar while Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other entitlements need to shrink, so that  this so-called emergency can be dealt with. Essentially, what they’re saying is that the weapons-manufacturers and soldiers need more money, and that this military requirement is an emergency but other federal spending is not.

I’m sure you never saw that coming? I’m also pretty sure the expansion of empire, contra to Trump’s campaign promises won’t  go over well with the MAGA faithful.

For the rest of us the only thing providing any hope at all is the sheer incompetence of Trump’s crazy-train. With a cast of villains featuring John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Nikki Haley, while starring Donald Trump in the role of a lifetime, this thing can’t go anywhere except down.

 

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