Evil Is Easy (Part 2)

 

Wall Street, the too-big-to-fail-banks, and the financial industry control our lives for the worse.

How did this come to pass?

From the New Deal up until the 80’s finance was heavily regulated, staid, boring even. Finance was also a valued member of a productive economy that properly allocated capital to manufacturing and service industries that provided goods and services.

Those were the good old days.

Since Reagan, Wall Street and the financial industry have escaped their regulatory purgatory through the valiant efforts of neoliberal intellectuals and massive campaign contributions delivered to our elected officials.

Economist Michael Hudson wrote a book entitled Killing the Host, where he well described the present-day financial industry as a parasite feeding on a host.

Guess who the host is?

That’s right, Wall Street and the financial industry are feeding on us. In the process, these people and their all-powerful institutions have made our lives infinitely more difficult.

Are you working your ass-off to get out of poverty, or having to perform for a boss you hate and a corporation you loathe to somehow cling to your middle-class status? Are you  a senior who’s income has declined precipitously since the Fed initiated its zero interest policy? Do you owe the payday loan operator more money than you will ever see in addition to your first born child?

Much of the economic suffering and rank injustice of our present situation can be blamed on the banks as well as their enabler–the Federal Reserve.

Wait, I thought the Fed was a government institution that works for us? In reality the Fed is controlled by the banks, and is both irredeemably corrupt and anti-democratic, as well as a blunt tool of the wealthy Americans who own the banks.

That the banks and financial interests have done immense evil should not be in doubt. Just like a parasite, or vampire, the US banking system is draining our wealth and limiting our freedoms and prospects for a brighter future.

For example: there is a severe crisis of homelessness in my city, with numerous public meetings between the mayor and city council, as well as acrimonious exchanges with citizens concerned over placement of homeless shelters. Nowhere in this narrative of homelessness and search for solutions is there any recognition of  the 2 to 3 million Americans who lost their homes after the Wall Street crash due to financial industry greed.

When President Obama ran for the Presidential election in 2008, he promised to hold the banks responsible while allowing American homeowners to write down mortgage debts.

We all know how that turned out.

According to Michael Hudson“The banks were saved, not the economy. Tim Geithner, who was a protégé of Robert Rubin, was moved on behalf of Citibank into the Treasury, and he bailed out the banks – leaving all the debts in place, not writing them down. Banks stopped lending mortgage money, and began to call in their credit card loans by about 100 billion dollars, from one trillion to about 900 trillion. Mortgages were not written off, so homeowners had to pay so much money to pay off the debts that had been built up during the bubble economy that they didn’t have enough income left to buy goods and services.”

Indeed, our country has been overtaken by a culture of greed, driven by the financialization of our economy.

Going forward we need to eliminate the idea that democracy is equated with capitalism, a system that’s driven almost exclusively by financial interests. Neoliberalism created a a global trade system for capital. This allowed capital to abandon American manufacturing locals for Third-World hell-holes where labor is pennies on the dollar and environmental regulations nonexistent.

That the American working and middle class was allowed to sink into despair was hand-waved away as no big deal.

And now, with the election of Trump, the crisis caused by financial neoliberalism has been exposed for all to see. The serious problems we are facing–like global warming and labor exclusion–are now reaching acute proportions, exacerbated by financialization and neoliberal globalization.

A parasite injects poison to anesthetize the host while feeding. Perhaps the corporate media in collaboration with the financial industry anesthetizes us to our grim future?

In America, it’s good to be evil, and damn sure easy.

To be continued…

 

 

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Evil is Easy (Part 1)

 

Why is it that doing good is so hard while evil is easy?

In my definition, doing good is cooperating with fellow citizens in a democratic manner to solve America’s numerous problems, while doing evil is playing on human hierarchical and xenophobic tendencies to pit each against each in order that a small group can benefit while the rest suffer.

Doing evil is really easy in the US, where we’ve been propagandized for decades to see ourselves as consumers rather than citizens. We are informed daily about the workings of a magical “free-market” which delivers benefits that could never be achieved through government action. With the hoo-rah come a stern warning–any failure to get rich and or famous is our own damn fault. We’re also encouraged to blame our neighbors, especially the ones who look different.

To see how this works in practice, let’s examine the privatization of Americas educational system since the 1980’s when neoliberalism became the means to accomplish this long standing goal.

In, Dismantling Public Education: Turning Ideology into Gold, Alex Molnar, CEPC Publications Director, Director of the Commercialism in Education Research Unit (CERU), and Research Professor at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education, writes:

“The election of Ronald Reagan marks a reasonably good starting point for understanding how neoliberal political and economic strategy was used to shape public opinion to accept a market-based system of public education.  A system that, to appropriate Hirschman’s terms, replaced the citizen’s democratic right to a “voice” in shaping their public schools with a consumer’s choice to “exit” schools.[12]  Under the banner of “school choice,” public education would thus be removed from democratic control and reformulated as a commodity to be “chosen.”  Engineering this transformation would be no easy task, because although public schools were always controversial, they were also very popular.”

The privatization of American schools was a far easier sell once well-paying manufacturing jobs went away and the American people were told that the secret to success was better education. Failing public schools were held up as the reason that Americans were unprepared for the brave new world.

“In the early 1980s it was not yet obvious how neoliberals would make use of the economic crisis in impoverished communities — and the argument that school failure was the leading cause of economic misery — to make their case for a radical transformation and privatization of public education.  The publication of Politics, Markets, and America’s Schools in 1990 helped clarify things.  The case made by authors John Chubb and Terry Moe rests on the idea that poor academic performance is a product of schools being under the direct control of democratic institutions, and that the remedy lay in a market-based approach that offered parents choice between competing school options.”

For the neoliberals, school privatization offered up another tantalizing possibility–destruction of teachers unions. Unionized teachers were brutally attacked, and held up as the key reason why our children “wasn’t learning,” to paraphrase George Bush’s memorable phrase. Teachers and the unions that had won them the relatively high wages, job security, and benefits that are a distant memory for many blue collar workers became a useful target for the ideologues and politicians pursuing neoliberal reforms.

 “To sell their ideas, neoliberals promise that heroic teachers and “no-excuses” principals combined with competition, technology, and high-stakes student, teacher, and school evaluations, will “disrupt” sclerotic bureaucracies, rein in unions, and liberate oppressed impoverished urban communities from “failing” schools.”

However, education is hardly sufficient in a neoliberal world where the rich and powerful control the means of production and pit workers against each other in a savage race to the bottom.

 “For three and a half decades, retrained workers in blue-collar communities across the U.S. have waited in vain for the jobs to appear.  Meanwhile the public services upon which they rely have continued to deteriorate and their communities are collapsing around them for lack of public funds to support them. For an excellent discussion of white work class support for Donald Trump see Joan C. Williams “What So Many People Don’t Get About the U.S.” 

As you can observe from these examples, neoliberalism is a force multiplier for evil.

Under the auspices of neoliberalism, US corporations are encouraged to offshore well paying jobs to third-world hell-holes where workers are paid a pittance and regulations are non-existent. Public schools are then blamed by neoliberals for failing to properly educate American children. Private charter schools as well as non-unionized teachers are offered up as the solution. When this still doesn’t produce well paying jobs, Americans are instructed that they need higher education in order to gain these promised new high-tech jobs. Now, after going back to college and grad school in record numbers, rather than gaining well paying jobs, Americans are saddled with enormous amounts of debt, keeping them desperate and docile.

Is this a great country, or what?

Key architect and forceful proponent of neoliberalism, Margaret Thatcher, famously said– “there is no society.” She also proclaimed that “there’s no alternative” to neoliberalism.

To both those statements I say: fuck-you, I won’t do what you tell me.

We need to get busy. Doing good is hard.

Update: Dean Baker addresses the evil of mainstream economists.

“In this economic climate, it’s not surprising that a racist, xenophobic, misogynist demagogue like Donald Trump could succeed in politics, as right-wing populists have throughout the wealthy world. While his platform may be incoherent, Trump at least promised the return of good-paying jobs. Insofar as Clinton and other Democrats offered an agenda for economic progress for American workers, hardly anyone heard it. And to those who did, it sounded like more of the same.”

 

 

 

 

 

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The ideology that failed

 

Neoliberalism is a failed ideology that has immiserated millions of ordinary citizens.

Like communism, neoliberalism benefits a small cohort of elites at the expense of everyone else. Under communism, the vanguard of the proletariat, i.e. members of the Communist Party, made all of the important decisions. Under neoliberalism, affluent professionals have assumed this function. These affluent professionals maintain liberal social policies but favor conservative economic policies that concentrate wealth in fewer and fewer hands.

Under communism, dissidents were exiled to Siberian gulags. With neoliberalism there is no need for such clumsy methods of control. Americans are so desperate for employment that they punish and control themselves by slaving in dystopian Amazon warehouses, where workers are monitored 27/7 and dissent is suppressed. In this manner, neoliberalism has created and sustained a modern day precariat.

According to former journalist Chris Hedges, neoliberalism, despite its many failures, is still our ruling ideology because it’s immensely beneficial to our liberal elite.

“The liberal class, ranging from Hollywood and the Democratic leadership to The New York Times and CNN, refuses to acknowledge that it sold the Democratic Party to corporate bidders; collaborated in the evisceration of our civil liberties; helped destroy programs such as welfare, orchestrate the job-killing North American Free Trade Agreement and Trans-Pacific Partnership deal, wage endless war, debase our public institutions including the press and build the world’s largest prison system.”

In my opinion, neoliberalism benefits the ruling elite precisely because it immiserates everyone else. In fact, if truth be told, that was the whole point of neoliberalism. However, neoliberal intellectuals and corporate media exist to countenance the deprivations of neoliberalism and insist that the system is the best of all possible economic arrangements and even if it isn’t, there’s no alternative.

Unlike communism with its crude propaganda that the citizens knew to be false, the corporate media disseminates a sophisticated world-wide capitalist message that is believed by most everyone. The really good stuff like the New York Times and NPR, is aimed at liberal decision makers in costal enclaves. The corporate media controls most of what is seen and heard on television, the ideas and events that can be discussed in the mainstream media and what orthodoxies, including neoliberalism and endless war, that must never be questioned. We suffer an intellectual straight-jacket as stifling as that imposed by communism.

Despite the ongoing onslaught of propaganda about the perfidy of evil Russians, it’s the failures of neoliberalism that have set the stage for a petty tyrant like Trump. Despite such knowledge, it’s clear from the actions of the Democratic Party, who have come to represent affluent professionals, that they will cling to neoliberalism rather than allow a real alternative to Trump.

Hedges believes, as I do, that we desperately need a genuine opposition party in the age of Trump.

“A genuine populism, one defined and often articulated by Bernie Sanders, could sweep the Democratic Party back into power. Regulating Wall Street, publicly financing campaigns, forgiving student debt, demanding universal health care, bailing out homeowners victimized by the banks, ending the wars in the Middle East, instituting a jobs program to repair our decaying infrastructure, dismantling the prison system, restoring the rule of law on the streets of our cities, making college education free and protecting programs such as Social Security would see election victory after election victory.

But this will never happen within the Democratic Party. It refuses to prohibit corporate money. The party elites know that if corporate money disappears, so do they. The party’s hierarchy, pressured by Obama and the Clintons, elevated Tom Perez over Keith Ellison—whom a major donor to the party, Haim Saban, condemns as an “anti-Semite” because of Ellison’s criticism of the Israeli government—to head the Democratic National Committee. They will press forward repeating the same silly slogans and trying to use the now ineffective Force choke on their political enemies. They may have lost control of the Congress and the White House and hold only 16 governorships and majorities in only 31 of the states’ 99 legislative chambers, but they are incapable of offering any meaningful alternative to neoliberalism and empire. They are devoid of a vision. They can only moralize. They will continue to atrophy and enable the consolidation of an American fascism.”

Neoliberalism was sold as the economic system that would produce “freedom” for everyone. By now it’s quite apparent that the “freedom” conferred by neoliberalism has been exclusively for the 1% and their affluent professional apparatchik, while the rest of us are offered the freedom to starve.

Update: Wow!

PAUL JAY: “Is part of what’s happening here an overall decay, if you will, of the state itself, of the American government? Which is a reflection of what’s going on in the economy. You have so much of Wall Street is about pure parasitical investment. There’s more money being invested in derivative gambling and billionaires gambling against billionaires and shorting, kind of manupulating commodity markets and so on, more money in the parasitical activity than there is investment in productive activity. And these are the guys that are financing political campaigns even electing presidents, in the case of Robert Mercer, who ‘s the billionaire who backed Trump and Bannon. Bannon worked for Mercer. The whole state and the upper echelons in the economy they seem to be into such practically mafioso short-sightedness. Like, “What can we do today for ourselves and damn what happens later?”’

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The Washington Generals

 

The Democratic Party has transformed from a political party that represented working-class interests to a party that serves affluent professionals. In the process they’ve become a faux opponent very much like the Washington Generals who pretended to oppose the Harlem Globetrotters.

If this wasn’t obvious, the Democrats have again made it crystal clear with their selection of Tom Perez to head the DNC that they have no intention of changing, even if it means losing to the Republicans forever.

“Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison lost his bid to become the chair of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Saturday after  a scorched-earth smear campaign targeting  his religious faith, his affinity for the Nation of Islam in his youth, and his support for Palestinian rights alongside a secure Israel. 

Instead, the majority of the DNC’s voting members chose former labor secretary Tom Perez to lead the party.

Perez was widely perceived as being brought into the race by allies of President Obama, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, and other members of the party establishment. Ellison — a black man, a Bernie Sanders supporter, and the first Muslim elected to Congress — earned initial support from many Democrats until a strong backlash from the Obama and Clinton camps and prominent pro-Israeli activists.”

In my lifetime, conservatives have hijacked the language that was developed by the labor movement. They’ve appropriated it and turned it around to mean the opposite. Economic reform used to refer to unionized labor, regulation and intervention in the US economy by government to protect workers and consumers, trust-busting, and so on. Today, the economic language churned-out by our corporate media is predictably right wing, anti-labor, pro-financial. Economic “reform” means to cut back social spending and have all the gains go to the wealthy and to the corporate sector via privatization of the economy, monopolies, outsourcing, and rent-seeking

Meanwhile, the Democrats, while pretending to be an oppositional party, have been complicit and even accelerated such “reforms.”

Executive Director of the Labor Institute, Les Leopold, examines the behavior of the Democratic party and come to the same conclusions.

“Ask the corporate Democrats who have turned losing into an art form.

Since 2008, they have lost 917 state legislative seats. Explanations range from Koch brothers funding to gerrymandering, to voter suppression to the rise of the Tea Party. All partially true.

The Democrats also shoulder a good deal of the blame. Ever since Bill Clinton triangulated into NAFTA and away from working people, the Democratic party’s embrace of financial and corporate elites have become the norm.

Hillary Clinton took $225,000 per speech from Goldman Sachs not because she was corrupt. Rather, this is simply the way the political game is played. You raise money from rich people, and then you back away from attacking their prerogatives while still trying to placate your liberal/worker base. Getting rich along the way is to be expected.

But as economist Jamie Galbraith put it, ultimately it is not possible for the Democrats to be both the party of the predators and the prey.”

In my opinion, losing to the Republicans is acceptable to Democratic party insiders as long as they can kick the left. The reason that Obama supported Perez over Ellison was to ensure that the Democratic establishment maintains its fatal grip on the party and, in particular, to prevent Sanders followers from having any say in the party’s direction and identity.

Already with the so-called resistance, the Democrats have sought to co-op any movement that develops against Trump and prevent it from emerging as a challenge to their corporate sponsors. What truly concerns the Democrats and their corporate media handmaidens is how this vast social and economic discontent can be diverted into channels that will leave the wealth and power of their financial backers undisturbed.

Maybe basketball isn’t the right analogy for what the Democrats have become.

Maybe a better description is KayfabeThe US political process has been transformed into an ongoing spectacle–just like pro wrestling– with Democrat and Republican representatives kitted out in wrestling togs, while an orange-haired President who knows a thing or two about the pro-wrestling business oversees as the master of ceremonies.

Update: Here’s all you need to know about the modern Democratic Party.

“Barack and Michelle Obama have sold the rights to their next books to Penguin Random House for a sum that has reportedly passed $60 million, according to a report by the Financial Times. (They will be writing separate books, but the rights were sold jointly.) As far as past and present presidential book deals go, this one’s a biggie: it surpasses previous records set by George W. Bush’s reported $7 million deal and Bill Clinton’s reported $15 million dollar advance.”

Cha-Ching!

 

 

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Abhorrent to the vested interests

 

Economist, Michael Hudson, is an iconoclast who writes and speaks against neoliberal economic orthodoxy. His latest lecture connects early Christianity with economic history, and argues that the reason Jesus was crucified was because he advocated a jubilee, or debt forgiveness.

“The fight of Jesus against the Pharisees was about this. At first Jesus said: “Good to be back in Nazareth, let me read to you about Isaiah.” In Luke 4 says it that this was all very good, and they liked him. But then he began talking about debt cancellation, and they tried to push him off a cliff.

 So basically you have the whole origin of Christianity was a last gasp, a last fight, to try to reimpose this idea of the economic renewal – of a Clean Slate – that goes back at least to the 3rd millennium BC and probably all the way to the Neolithic.”

In America, the idea of a debt-forgiveness is abhorrent to the vested interests. To these ruling elite, debt is manifestly useful in maintaining their hierarchical system of control. The rich benefactors of both parties, especially the financial ones, would blow a gasket if any candidate would even dare mention a debt jubilee.

Of course, debt relief is anathema to the Republicans, but the Democrats, presently in thrall to technocratic liberalism, also reject this sort of economic populism. Technocratic liberals in the Democratic party pretend that they are simply neutral parties who eschew politics while enacting policies that benefit all Americans. But, this claim is rubbish. Follow the money, as the saying goes, and you will discover that technocratic liberalism is simply neoliberalism in disguise, and the beneficiaries are financial interests. Meanwhile, the rest of us bear the burden of this arrangement.

After all, politics is, at its most basic, who gets what and who pays the cost.

Hudson describes what happens when debtors are subjugated by creditors. “Either you’re going to have economic renewal and restore people’s ability to support themselves; or you’re going to have feudalism. That basically is how the Roman historians described Rome as falling. The debtors were enslaved, not only the debtors but just about everybody was enslaved, put in barracks on the land. Finally, you needed to have a population, so you let people marry and you gave them land rights – and you had slavery develop into serfdom. Well we’re going into a similar situation today, where I think we’re going into a kind of neo-feudalism. The strain of today’s society is as much a debt strain as it was back then.”

Hudson’s depiction of Jesus’s radical message of a debt-forgiveness jubilee is revolutionary and has particular resonance for me. In college I read Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, where Jesus is confronted in prison by the Grand Inquisitor. Wow. This radical Jesus was certainly not the Jesus I had learned about in Methodist Sunday-School, where he’d been transformed into a non-threatening figure-head in order to disguise political and economic interests.

In America, Christianity has been hijacked by conservative prosperity-gospel, which says the rich are good and moral while the poor have no one to blame but themselves. Instead of debt-forgiveness and economic renewal the poor are begrudgingly offered charity.

In my opinion, if we’re going to be successful in resistance to Trump we have to reclaim the radical message of Jesus– love, fairness, and jubilee. Going further, we must also reclaim our basic humanity and reject the fundamental idea of neoliberalism–that people only have value as actors in a market.

To do this we need to radically transform the Democratic party.

The Democrats since Bill Clinton have retreated from traditional liberal goals: expanding opportunity, fighting for social justice, and ensuring that workers get a fair deal, to meritocracy, which is the same essential message as conservative prosperity-gospel. Only instead of the savagery of “Dickensian” poorhouses offered by Republicans, the Democrats offer charity to the working-class in the form of unemployment insurance, food stamps and Medicaid, while lecturing them on the value of education.

My dream is of a different Democratic party offering an alternative to neoliberalism. Imagine the radical politics of debt relief to young Americans, burdened as they are with student loans. Imagine an embrace of Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), where the US government, as the issuor of a sovereign currency, would spend money into creation on universal projects, instead of granting this power of money creation to the banks, who use it to enslave us in debt.

Blow a gasket does not even come close to the apoplectic response we could expect from the financial elite in regard to such policies.

Jesus was a radical.

If we expect to change our world, we must become radical too.

Paraphrasing Populist orator Mary Elizabeth Lease, we need to “raise less corn and more hell.”

 

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Out of the shadows

 

After 70 years of anonymity the deep state has fully emerged from the shadows.

In the wake of the surprise resignation of Trump’s national-security-advisor, Michael Flynn,  stories about the deep state are everywhere, from the New York Times, to Naked Capitalism, to the floor of the Senate.

Described by Julian Assange of WikiLeaks, “an amazing battle for dominance is playing out between the elected US government and the intelligence community that considers itself to be the “permanent government. The Flynn ouster was the result of a destabilization campaign by US spies, Democrats and press”.

I have watched in utter dismay the way that liberals have turned on a dime from their traditional distrust of the Military/Intelligence/Industrial/Complex to fervent embrace, all in the name of opposing Donald Trump.

According to investigative reporter Robert Parry, “Democrats, liberals and media pundits – in their rush to take down President Trump – are pushing a New McCarthyism aimed at Americans who have talked to Russians, risking a new witch hunt.”

The Democratic party, under Barak Obama, suffered historic losses and has been struggling to reinvent itself. Indeed, there is an ongoing battle between left-wing activists who supported Bernie Sanders, and party stalwarts who backed Hillary Clinton. The party stalwarts are desperate to maintain control of the party and its valuable corporate donor network. Rather than addressing fundamental problems with messaging and voter registration, they would rather blame the Russians for Trump’s election.

I’ve said before that one of the positives from a Trump presidency was that he appeared to want better relation with Russia.

Now, with the Democratic embrace of the deep state as a means to oppose Trump, this rapprochement is very much in doubt.

Parry says that this embrace is a very dangerous gambit. “That Democrats and liberals who hold the McCarthy era in understandable disdain would now seek to rekindle something similar reeks of rank opportunism and gross hypocrisy – doing whatever it takes to “get Trump” and build an activist movement that can revive the Democratic Party’s flagging political hopes.

But this particular opportunism and hypocrisy also carries with it the prospect of blindly ramping up tensions with Russia, diverting more taxpayer money into the Military-Industrial Complex and conceivably sparking – whether planned or unplanned – a nuclear Armageddon that could eliminate life on the planet. Perhaps this anti-Trump strategy should be rethought.”

Within this nexus of stories there is pushback to the very concept of an American deep state.

Zeynep Tufekci, a Turkish sociologist and writer at the University of North Carolina, tweeted a string of criticisms about the analogy Friday morning. “Permanent bureaucracy and/or non-electoral institutions diverging with the electoral branch [is] not that uncommon even in liberal democracies,” she wrote. “In the Turkey case, that’s not what it means. There was a shadowy, cross-institution occasionally *armed* network conducting killings, etc. So, if people are going to call non electoral institutions stepping up leaking stuff, fine. But it is not ‘deep state’ like in Turkey.”

Author Douglas Valentine would sharply disagree with Tufekci’s description of the American deep state as “permanent bureaucracy”. Making the key observation that the CIA is the central actor in the deep state, Valentine’s new book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, connects the CIA with the war on drugs and shows how the agency has used drugs as part of its nefarious activities since its inception. Valentine examines the practices of the CIA, skillfully making the connection between it and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). From the beginning of the Cold War to the 1960s, FBN director Harry Anslinger, in a desperate bid to outflank the FBI, entered into a “suicidal” relationship with the CIA. Going further, Valentine exposes the close relationship between organized crime and US intelligence, paying close attention to the way in which the CIA used drugs as a weapon to turn foreign agents and supply funds to anti-communist organizations. His account of MKULTRA–the CIA experiment with LSD–is fascinating. Exploring the deep politics of the US, Valentine explores the hidden roots of the early war on narcotics and proves that foreign policy considerations of the deep state always trumped public health.

Valentine also shows how the corporate media has a symbiotic relationship with CIA, and how this relationship skews American knowledge and understanding of the deep state.

“The media organizes itself the way the CIA does. The CIA has case officers running around the world, engaged in murder and mayhem, and the media has reporters covering them. The reporter and the case officer both have bosses, and the higher you get in each organization, the closer the bosses become. The ideological guidelines get more restrictive the higher up you go. To join the CIA, you have to pass a psychological assessment test. They’re not going to hire anybody who is sympathetic towards poor people. These are ruthless people who serve capitalist bosses. They’re very rightwing, and the media’s job is to protect them. Editors only hire reporters who are ideologically pure, just like you can’t get into the CIA if you’re a Communist or think the CIA should obey the law.

In my opinion, the sudden emergence of the deep state and stories about its affairs are part of a limited-hangout, where when they can “no longer rely on a phony cover story to misinform the public, they resort to admitting—sometimes even volunteering—some of the truth while still managing to withhold the key and damaging facts in the case.”

These stories also elide a larger question: Why in a supposed democratic republic does our elite manage a deep state that is largely unaccountable to we the people?

Perhaps the formulation and existence of an American deep state was articulated most honestly at the Constitutional convention by John Jay–“Those who own the country ought to govern it.”

Update: Gareth Porter demonstrates how the deep state mobilized against Trump’s Russian detente.

“But Trump’s appears to have underestimated the ambitions of the leakers. The campaign against Flynn had been calculated in part to weaken the Trump administration and ensure that the new administration would not dare to reverse the hardline policy of constant pressure on Putin’s Russia.

Many in Washington’s political elite celebrated the fall of Flynn as a turning point in the struggle to maintain the existing policy orientation toward Russia. The day after Flynn was fired the Post’s national political correspondent, James Hohmann, wrote that the Flynn “imbroglio” would now make it “politically untenable for Trump to scale back sanctions to Moscow” because the “political blowback from hawkish Republicans in Congress would be too intense….”

But the ultimate target of the campaign was Trump himself. As neoconservative journalist Eli Lake put it, “Flynn is only the appetizer. Trump is the entree.”’

 

 

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Illusion only is sacred, truth profane

 

There was much pearl-clutching by the corporate media when Trump blurted out the truth of US foreign policy in a recent interview with Fox host, Bill O’ Reilly.

“There are a lot of killers.” Trump responded. “We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think — our country’s so innocent. You think our country’s so innocent?”

Aghast at Trump’s heresy, O’Reilly sputtered, “I don’t know of any government leaders that are killers.”

Trump: “Well — take a look at what we’ve done too. We made a lot of mistakes. I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.”

O’Reilly: “But mistakes are different than —“

Trump: “A lot of mistakes, but a lot of people were killed. A lot of killers around, believe me.”

The corporate media wasted no time in castigating Trump, with the New York Times accusing him of “Blaming America First.”

Investigative journalist, Robert Parry recognized that Trump is being targeted by the neoconservative elite for engaging in “moral equivalence,” and traces this pejorative back to the Reagan administration with their policy of “perception management.”

“The “moral equivalence” argument has been with us at least since the Reagan administration when human rights groups objected to President Reagan’s support for right-wing governments in Central America that engaged in “death squad” tactics against political dissidents, including the murders of priests and nuns and genocide against disaffected Indian tribes. To suggest that Reagan and his friends should be subjected to the same standards that he applied to left-wing authoritarian governments earned you the accusation of “moral equivalence.”

Declassified documents from Reagan’s White House show that this P.R. strategy was refined at National Security Council meetings led by U.S. intelligence propaganda experts. Now the “moral equivalence” theme is being revived to discredit a new Republican president who dares challenge this particular Official Washington “group think.”

American exceptionalism is the official-narrative of the US corporate empire, mindlessly repeated by all the talking-heads and government officials who support and identify with it. This “group think” requires that everyone who wants to be taken seriously in official Washington must repeat the mantra that America is the indispensable country. If invasions, assassinations, and torture are traced back to Washington then obviously mistakes were made in the US’s historic quest to spread peace and democracy.

After all that has happened since 9/11 the narrative is hardly believable but that’s beside the point. The idea is to use this narrative to create an ideological boundary that can be defended as truth by the deep state and their corporate media handmaidens. Unlike the former Soviet Union, the narrative is not enforced by clumsy official propaganda. In the US it’s much more subtle. For an employee of the corporate media, going along with the narrative confers all kinds of benefits like employment, career advancement and prestige, while challenging the narrative brings poverty, social and professional stigmatization, anxiety, and various other forms of suffering. If you are intelligent you learn quickly to play along.

Trump is a mystery. He says many things that are patently untrue, yet he also utters accurate statements that contradict the narrative.

However, telling such unpleasant, albeit obvious truths is not the way to please the mandarins of the deep state. To be a power broker in Washington requires one to stick with the official-narrative. Any inconvenient truth-telling is not welcome. After all, the deep state maintains its power through the control of information.

As writer Guy Debord noted in his masterpiece–Society of the Spectacle–“Illusion only is sacred, truth profane.”

 

 

 

 

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