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"During the last five years, the news media has been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal."

Is the real power hiding in the shadows? (photo: Scott Galindez/RSN)

A Shadow Government Controls America

By Mike Lofgren, Moyers & Company

22 February 14


here is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power. [1]

During the last five years, the news media has been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system. On one level, the critique is self-evident: In the domain that the public can see, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked in the worst manner since the 1850s, the violently rancorous decade preceding the Civil War.

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country…

As I wrote in The Party is Over, the present objective of congressional Republicans is to render the executive branch powerless, at least until a Republican president is elected (a goal that voter suppression laws in GOP-controlled states are clearly intended to accomplish). President Obama cannot enact his domestic policies and budgets: Because of incessant GOP filibustering, not only could he not fill the large number of vacancies in the federal judiciary, he could not even get his most innocuous presidential appointees into office. Democrats controlling the Senate have responded by weakening the filibuster of nominations, but Republicans are sure to react with other parliamentary delaying tactics. This strategy amounts to congressional nullification of executive branch powers by a party that controls a majority in only one house of Congress.

Despite this apparent impotence, President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented - at least since the McCarthy era - witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called "Insider Threat Program"). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement. Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, such as arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite the habitual cant of congressional Republicans about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from them about these actions - with the minor exception of comments from gadfly Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save a few mavericks such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either - even to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials on the subject of illegal surveillance.

These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise. During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi-s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom-s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country-s intelligence. Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people. During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text. They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life.

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an "establishment." All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State-s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. [2]

How did I come to write an analysis of the Deep State, and why am I equipped to write it? As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance, I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing, if neither totally in it by virtue of full membership nor of it by psychological disposition. But, like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for, and only by slow degrees, starting before the invasion of Iraq, did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are, to quote George W. Bush, "the deciders."

Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called "groupthink," the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town-s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it."

A more elusive aspect of cultural assimilation is the sheer dead weight of the ordinariness of it all once you have planted yourself in your office chair for the 10,000th time. Government life is typically not some vignette from an Allen Drury novel about intrigue under the Capitol dome. Sitting and staring at the clock on the off-white office wall when it-s 11:00 in the evening and you are vowing never, ever to eat another piece of takeout pizza in your life is not an experience that summons the higher literary instincts of a would-be memoirist. After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy, and yet that simply bounce off one-s consciousness like pebbles off steel plate: "You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?" No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one-s surroundings is easy. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld, I didn-t know all that I knew, at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it.

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally so fractious and partisan, is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State-s emissaries.

I saw this submissiveness on many occasions. One memorable incident was passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008. This legislation retroactively legalized the Bush administration-s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance first revealed by The New York Times in 2005 and indemnified the telecommunications companies for their cooperation in these acts. The bill passed easily: All that was required was the invocation of the word "terrorism" and most members of Congress responded like iron filings obeying a magnet. One who responded in that fashion was Senator Barack Obama, soon to be coronated as the presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention in Denver. He had already won the most delegates by campaigning to the left of his main opponent, Hillary Clinton, on the excesses of the global war on terror and the erosion of constitutional liberties.

As the indemnification vote showed, the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies. What is euphemistically called "private enterprise" is an integral part of its operations. In a special series in The Washington Post called "Top Secret America," Dana Priest and William K. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances - a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government. While they work throughout the country and the world, their heavy concentration in and around the Washington suburbs is unmistakable: Since 9/11, 33 facilities for top-secret intelligence have been built or are under construction. Combined, they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons - about 17 million square feet. Seventy percent of the intelligence community-s budget goes to paying contracts. And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The Director of National Intelligence, James R. Clapper, is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton, one of the government-s largest intelligence contractors. His predecessor as director, Admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company; Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and are rarely subject to congressional hearings.

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: "I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy." This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice - certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]

The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus- expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy. [4]

Petraeus and most of the avatars of the Deep State - the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs, the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to "stay the course" in Iraq, the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run - are careful to pretend that they have no ideology. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. That is nonsense. They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class, an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican. Domestically, whatever they might privately believe about essentially diversionary social issues such as abortion or gay marriage, they almost invariably believe in the "Washington Consensus": financialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor. Internationally, they espouse 21st-century "American Exceptionalism": the right and duty of the United States to meddle in every region of the world with coercive diplomacy and boots on the ground and to ignore painfully won international norms of civilized behavior. To paraphrase what Sir John Harrington said more than 400 years ago about treason, now that the ideology of the Deep State has prospered, none dare call it ideology. [5] That is why describing torture with the word "torture" on broadcast television is treated less as political heresy than as an inexcusable lapse of Washington etiquette: Like smoking a cigarette on camera, these days it is simply "not done."

After Edward Snowden-s revelations about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency, it has become publicly evident that Silicon Valley is a vital node of the Deep State as well. Unlike military and intelligence contractors, Silicon Valley overwhelmingly sells to the private market, but its business is so important to the government that a strange relationship has emerged. While the government could simply dragoon the high technology companies to do the NSA-s bidding, it would prefer cooperation with so important an engine of the nation-s economy, perhaps with an implied quid pro quo. Perhaps this explains the extraordinary indulgence the government shows the Valley in intellectual property matters. If an American "jailbreaks" his smartphone (i.e., modifies it so that it can use a service provider other than the one dictated by the manufacturer), he could receive a fine of up to $500,000 and several years in prison; so much for a citizen-s vaunted property rights to what he purchases. The libertarian pose of the Silicon Valley moguls, so carefully cultivated in their public relations, has always been a sham. Silicon Valley has long been tracking for commercial purposes the activities of every person who uses an electronic device, so it is hardly surprising that the Deep State should emulate the Valley and do the same for its own purposes. Nor is it surprising that it should conscript the Valley-s assistance.

Still, despite the essential roles of lower Manhattan and Silicon Valley, the center of gravity of the Deep State is firmly situated in and around the Beltway. The Deep State-s physical expansion and consolidation around the Beltway would seem to make a mockery of the frequent pronouncement that governance in Washington is dysfunctional and broken. That the secret and unaccountable Deep State floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American government in the 21st century: drone strikes, data mining, secret prisons and Panopticon-like control on the one hand; and on the other, the ordinary, visible parliamentary institutions of self-government declining to the status of a banana republic amid the gradual collapse of public infrastructure.

The results of this contradiction are not abstract, as a tour of the rotting, decaying, bankrupt cities of the American Midwest will attest. It is not even confined to those parts of the country left behind by a Washington Consensus that decreed the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy in the interests of efficiency and shareholder value. This paradox is evident even within the Beltway itself, the richest metropolitan area in the nation. Although demographers and urban researchers invariably count Washington as a "world city," that is not always evident to those who live there. Virtually every time there is a severe summer thunderstorm, tens - or even hundreds - of thousands of residents lose power, often for many days. There are occasional water restrictions over wide areas because water mains, poorly constructed and inadequately maintained, have burst. [6] The Washington metropolitan area considers it a Herculean task just to build a rail link to its international airport - with luck it may be completed by 2018.

It is as if Hadrian-s Wall was still fully manned and the fortifications along the border with Germania were never stronger, even as the city of Rome disintegrates from within and the life-sustaining aqueducts leading down from the hills begin to crumble. The governing classes of the Deep State may continue to deceive themselves with their dreams of Zeus-like omnipotence, but others do not. A 2013 Pew Poll that interviewed 38,000 people around the world found that in 23 of 39 countries surveyed, a plurality of respondents said they believed China already had or would in the future replace the United States as the world-s top economic power.

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to "live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face." "Living upon its principal," in this case, means that the Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion.

We are faced with two disagreeable implications. First, that the Deep State is so heavily entrenched, so well protected by surveillance, firepower, money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change. Second, that just as in so many previous empires, the Deep State is populated with those whose instinctive reaction to the failure of their policies is to double down on those very policies in the future. Iraq was a failure briefly camouflaged by the wholly propagandistic success of the so-called surge; this legerdemain allowed for the surge in Afghanistan, which equally came to naught. Undeterred by that failure, the functionaries of the Deep State plunged into Libya; the smoking rubble of the Benghazi consulate, rather than discouraging further misadventure, seemed merely to incite the itch to bomb Syria. Will the Deep State ride on the back of the American people from failure to failure until the country itself, despite its huge reserves of human and material capital, is slowly exhausted? The dusty road of empire is strewn with the bones of former great powers that exhausted themselves in like manner.

But, there are signs of resistance to the Deep State and its demands. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations, the House narrowly failed to pass an amendment that would have defunded the NSA-s warrantless collection of data from US persons. Shortly thereafter, the president, advocating yet another military intervention in the Middle East, this time in Syria, met with such overwhelming congressional skepticism that he changed the subject by grasping at a diplomatic lifeline thrown to him by Vladimir Putin. [7]

Has the visible, constitutional state, the one envisaged by Madison and the other Founders, finally begun to reassert itself against the claims and usurpations of the Deep State? To some extent, perhaps. The unfolding revelations of the scope of the NSA-s warrantless surveillance have become so egregious that even institutional apologists such as Senator Dianne Feinstein have begun to backpedal - if only rhetorically - from their knee-jerk defense of the agency. As more people begin to waken from the fearful and suggestible state that 9/11 created in their minds, it is possible that the Deep State-s decade-old tactic of crying "terrorism!" every time it faces resistance is no longer eliciting the same Pavlovian response of meek obedience. And the American people, possibly even their legislators, are growing tired of endless quagmires in the Middle East.

But there is another more structural reason the Deep State may have peaked in the extent of its dominance. While it seems to float above the constitutional state, its essentially parasitic, extractive nature means that it is still tethered to the formal proceedings of governance. The Deep State thrives when there is tolerable functionality in the day-to-day operations of the federal government. As long as appropriations bills get passed on time, promotion lists get confirmed, black (i.e., secret) budgets get rubber-stamped, special tax subsidies for certain corporations are approved without controversy, as long as too many awkward questions are not asked, the gears of the hybrid state will mesh noiselessly. But when one house of Congress is taken over by tea party Wahhabites, life for the ruling class becomes more trying.

If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent, uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda. But recent congressional antics involving sequestration, the government shutdown and the threat of default over the debt ceiling extension have been disrupting that equilibrium. And an extreme gridlock dynamic has developed between the two parties such that continuing some level of sequestration is politically the least bad option for both parties, albeit for different reasons. As much as many Republicans might want to give budget relief to the organs of national security, they cannot fully reverse sequestration without the Democrats demanding revenue increases. And Democrats wanting to spend more on domestic discretionary programs cannot void sequestration on either domestic or defense programs without Republicans insisting on entitlement cuts.

So, for the foreseeable future, the Deep State must restrain its appetite for taxpayer dollars. Limited deals may soften sequestration, but agency requests will not likely be fully funded anytime soon. Even Wall Street-s rentier operations have been affected: After helping finance the tea party to advance its own plutocratic ambitions, America-s Big Money is now regretting the Frankenstein-s monster it has created. Like children playing with dynamite, the tea party and its compulsion to drive the nation into credit default has alarmed the grown-ups commanding the heights of capital; the latter are now telling the politicians they thought they had hired to knock it off.

The House vote to defund the NSA-s illegal surveillance programs was equally illustrative of the disruptive nature of the tea party insurgency. Civil liberties Democrats alone would never have come so close to victory; tea party stalwart Justin Amash (R-MI), who has also upset the business community for his debt-limit fundamentalism, was the lead Republican sponsor of the NSA amendment, and most of the Republicans who voted with him were aligned with the tea party.

The final factor is Silicon Valley. Owing to secrecy and obfuscation, it is hard to know how much of the NSA-s relationship with the Valley is based on voluntary cooperation, how much is legal compulsion through FISA warrants and how much is a matter of the NSA surreptitiously breaking into technology companies- systems. Given the Valley-s public relations requirement to mollify its customers who have privacy concerns, it is difficult to take the tech firms- libertarian protestations about government compromise of their systems at face value, especially since they engage in similar activity against their own customers for commercial purposes. That said, evidence is accumulating that Silicon Valley is losing billions in overseas business from companies, individuals and governments that want to maintain privacy. For high tech entrepreneurs, the cash nexus is ultimately more compelling than the Deep State-s demand for patriotic cooperation. Even legal compulsion can be combatted: Unlike the individual citizen, tech firms have deep pockets and batteries of lawyers with which to fight government diktat.

This pushback has gone so far that on January 17, President Obama announced revisions to the NSA-s data collection programs, including withdrawing the agency-s custody of a domestic telephone record database, expanding requirements for judicial warrants and ceasing to spy on (undefined) "friendly foreign leaders." Critics have denounced the changes as a cosmetic public relations move, but they are still significant in that the clamor has gotten so loud that the president feels the political need to address it.

When the contradictions within a ruling ideology are pushed too far, factionalism appears and that ideology begins slowly to crumble. Corporate oligarchs such as the Koch brothers are no longer entirely happy with the faux-populist political front group they helped fund and groom. Silicon Valley, for all the Ayn Rand-like tendencies of its major players, its offshoring strategies and its further exacerbation of income inequality, is now lobbying Congress to restrain the NSA, a core component of the Deep State. Some tech firms are moving to encrypt their data. High tech corporations and governments alike seek dominance over people though collection of personal data, but the corporations are jumping ship now that adverse public reaction to the NSA scandals threatens their profits.

The outcome of all these developments is uncertain. The Deep State, based on the twin pillars of national security imperative and corporate hegemony, has until recently seemed unshakable and the latest events may only be a temporary perturbation in its trajectory. But history has a way of toppling the altars of the mighty. While the two great materialist and determinist ideologies of the twentieth century, Marxism and the Washington Consensus, successively decreed that the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the market were inevitable, the future is actually indeterminate. It may be that deep economic and social currents create the framework of history, but those currents can be channeled, eddied, or even reversed by circumstance, chance and human agency. We have only to reflect upon defunct glacial despotisms such as the USSR or East Germany to realize that nothing is forever.

Throughout history, state systems with outsized pretensions to power have reacted to their environments in two ways. The first strategy, reflecting the ossification of its ruling elites, consists of repeating that nothing is wrong, that the status quo reflects the nation-s unique good fortune in being favored by God and that those calling for change are merely subversive troublemakers. As the French ancien régime, the Romanov dynasty and the Habsburg emperors discovered, the strategy works splendidly for a while, particularly if one has a talent for dismissing unpleasant facts. The final results, however, are likely to be thoroughly disappointing.

The second strategy is one embraced to varying degrees and with differing goals, by figures of such contrasting personalities as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Charles de Gaulle and Deng Xiaoping. They were certainly not revolutionaries by temperament; if anything, their natures were conservative. But they understood that the political cultures in which they lived were fossilized and incapable of adapting to the times. In their drive to reform and modernize the political systems they inherited, their first obstacles to overcome were the outworn myths that encrusted the thinking of the elites of their time.

As the United States confronts its future after experiencing two failed wars, a precarious economy and $17 trillion in accumulated debt, the national punditry has split into two camps. The first, the declinists, sees a broken, dysfunctional political system incapable of reform and an economy soon to be overtaken by China. The second, the reformers, offers a profusion of nostrums to turn the nation around: public financing of elections to sever the artery of money between the corporate components of the Deep State and financially dependent elected officials, government "insourcing" to reverse the tide of outsourcing of government functions and the conflicts of interest that it creates, a tax policy that values human labor over financial manipulation and a trade policy that favors exporting manufactured goods over exporting investment capital.

All of that is necessary, but not sufficient. The Snowden revelations (the impact of which have been surprisingly strong), the derailed drive for military intervention in Syria and a fractious Congress, whose dysfunction has begun to be a serious inconvenience to the Deep State, show that there is now a deep but as yet inchoate hunger for change. What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed.

[1] The term "Deep State" was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services, military, security, judiciary and organized crime. In British author John le Carré-s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as "… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster." I use the term to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process.

[2] Twenty-five years ago, the sociologist Robert Nisbet described this phenomenon as "the attribute of No Fault…. Presidents, secretaries and generals and admirals in America seemingly subscribe to the doctrine that no fault ever attaches to policy and operations. This No Fault conviction prevents them from taking too seriously such notorious foul-ups as Desert One, Grenada, Lebanon and now the Persian Gulf." To his list we might add 9/11, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

[3] The attitude of many members of Congress towards Wall Street was memorably expressed by Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, in 2010: "In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks."

[4] Beginning in 1988, every US president has been a graduate of Harvard or Yale. Beginning in 2000, every losing presidential candidate has been a Harvard or Yale graduate, with the exception of John McCain in 2008.

[5] In recent months, the American public has seen a vivid example of a Deep State operative marketing his ideology under the banner of pragmatism. Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates - a one-time career CIA officer and deeply political Bush family retainer - has camouflaged his retrospective defense of military escalations that have brought us nothing but casualties and fiscal grief as the straight-from-the-shoulder memoir from a plain-spoken son of Kansas who disdains Washington and its politicians.

[6] Meanwhile, the US government took the lead in restoring Baghdad-s sewer system at a cost of $7 billion.

[7] Obama-s abrupt about-face suggests he may have been skeptical of military intervention in Syria all along, but only dropped that policy once Congress and Putin gave him the running room to do so. In 2009, he went ahead with the Afghanistan "surge" partly because General Petraeus- public relations campaign and back-channel lobbying on the Hill for implementation of his pet military strategy pre-empted other options. These incidents raise the disturbing question of how much the democratically elected president - or any president - sets the policy of the national security state and how much the policy is set for him by the professional operatives of that state who engineer faits accomplis that force his hand. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+97 # indian weaver 2014-02-22 17:26
Breathless, a magnificent story of our self-demise. A little hope is sprinkled in this nightmare, but not enough, not now and maybe never until We The People suffer enough to fight back and seek our revenge. Very likely, ecological and environmental collapses / poisons / genocides will bite off off the snake's tongue, which seems ever more likely. To me, those are the BIG unknowns. The probability of massive citizen unrest grows daily, one day hitting 100%. These out-of-anyone's -control challenges to the Deep State are everywhere and growing. In a way, even though we are causing them, the looming (and now occurring everywhere) environmental catastrophes are impersonal and don't care who suffers. These areas are not within anyone's control anymore. Sorry to say, but happy to say that the Deep State is also ensconced and included within the growing chaos.
+24 # ptalady 2014-02-22 23:37
I am not at all sure that the environmental catastrophes are impersonal. Check out what has been written about HAARP. That it exists is undeniable. Just what it is used for is secret -- a weapon of the Deep State? However, it seems to be for manipulating the weather. How we will all clamor for exactly that once enough environmental catastrophes are experienced/cre ated. I suppose that is when it will be unveiled. It reminds me of manipulations of any market where shortages/deman ds are intentionally created so that prices/profits can rise for those with the deepest resources.
+21 # chomper2 2014-02-23 11:45
If I were the praying sort, I would pray you are right and that the Deep State is in for deep-sixing. But you are probably also right that the inevitable environmental catastrophe will encompass the rest of us as well. Ironically, it didn't have to be this way, but for the Deep State's stupid short-sightedne ss.
0 # chomper2 2014-02-23 11:45
If I were the praying sort, I would pray you are right and that the Deep State is in for deep-sixing. But you are probably also right that the inevitable environmental catastrophe will encompass the rest of us as well. Ironically, it didn't have to be this way, but for the Deep State's stupid short-sightedne ss.
+12 # wantrealdemocracy 2014-02-23 13:04
It is WORSE than Nike Lofgren and indian weaver say. THere is NO real conflict betwwen the Dims and the Repukes, they are one and the same. They obey the directions of that shadow government that seeks a return to the days of royalty and serfs world wide.

We, who know this is true need to ask,
"What do we want instead of this rotten government?" We need to clearly state our intention to change this government.
As we work on a clear path to democracy.
+2 # Concerned Citizen 2014-02-24 12:14
Let's quit using political labels that serve the machine's interests. One person sharing with another person is how we turn this around. See "Politics in the New Millennium: PROGRESSIVE vs REGRESSIVE!" at
+2 # niknar 2015-11-20 03:57
That is an instructive way of looking at it. Another one would be corporatist vs. populist: for the corporations or for the public at large.
+68 # Jingze 2014-02-22 17:32
The Shadow government has run the show for years. When has Obama ever spoken out about anything? Does he care at all that a couple of black children were blasted away just because they were black? No. He has nothing of merit to say about such things. He wants to raise the joke of a minimum wage up to perhaps 1/3 of what it actually should be in today's world. He uses drones like gum drops. He wants to allow US businesses to move more abroad, into the Pacific . . . He has taught me many good reasons to give up voting and seek other means for "change I can blieve in."
+39 # indian weaver 2014-02-22 19:19
Amen to that brother / sister. Voting has been a rediculous self-deception for a long time now. "Other means" it is.
+2 # ptalady 2014-02-22 23:38
what other means??
+13 # Jingze 2014-02-23 06:56
Got a pitchfork?
+10 # indian weaver 2014-02-23 07:25
Be creative. It's every man for himself / woman for herself, sorry to say. The likelihood of mass organizations also exists to determine for each group / person what means "other means".
+12 # Anarchist 23 2014-02-23 12:46
You need an organization of the Imagniation...t o think, organize, live outside the box...tricky but there are little green shoots in various places...we may not have the time to finish this fight but we do have the time to begin it. Best of luck on the Path!
+20 # guyachs 2014-02-23 11:58
This piece wasn't anti-Obama. It goes much deeper. If you can't get over your Obama fixation, you'll never understand what's happening.
+5 # niknar 2015-11-20 04:26
As this piece mentioned, Obama has little control over most of these activities. If the shadow government wants him to do these things, he does it.

I remember right after he was elected Obama having a meeting with some military security people & how downcast he looked afterwards, as if he realized he wouldn't be able to do most of the things he planned to do as president.

I even think his supposed capture & killing of Osama bin Laden was a ruse. The deep state decided they needed to get rid of the lingering Osama problem, Osama having probably been dead for years but kept alive in order to keep the American public terrified & willing to accept US incursions in the Middle East. So they made a deal with Obama, where Obama would get credit for his death & they'd be rid of this unfinished business. Most of the people supposedly involved in the capture are now dead, as I understand it. Osama was buried at sea with no photographic or DNA evidence taken to show that it was indeed Osama.
+75 # reiverpacific 2014-02-22 22:10
I'd simply boil it down to "The new feudalism" and leave it at that.
The alleged "Land of the free" really is beginning to seem like a mix of the Tudor Court, the Corporate State and Devil's Island.
Those who have "Spoken out" to any significant extent are rotting in jail or pushing up the daisies.
+1 # jorarmed 2014-06-03 10:25
You hit the nail head on, Reiverpacific. The new feudalism is making way at an ever accelerating pace. The basic elements are already well in place and functioning fine. And indoctrination and group thinking are keeping people distracted and satisfied. No small accomplishment!
+84 # ReconFire 2014-02-22 22:21
Brilliant read.
If you want you're country back....
Roll up you're sleeves boys and girls, it's going to be a hell of a fight, and it's going to get ugly.
+9 # peterjnickitas 2014-02-23 11:14
You got that right.
+41 # Bev 2014-02-22 22:48
We the People need to wake up! It is beyond the 11th hour and the Sheeple are sleep walking.
+8 # ptalady 2014-02-22 23:40
and do what once we awaken?
+16 # Jingze 2014-02-23 06:59
+33 # anntares 2014-02-22 23:01
No mention of ALEC, the coordinator of industry's requested legislation with state politicians' need for campaign donations in exchange for backing the bills?

FOCUS | The ALEC Documents Exposed
Dec 7, 2013 ... The most interesting of them notes that ALEC started seriously bleeding corporate support when it lined up on the wrong side of the shooting of ...

ALEC Wants People to Pay Penalty for Owning Solar Panels
Dec 5, 2013 ... Details of Alec's strategy to block clean energy development at every stage - from the individual rooftop to the White House - are revealed as ... owning-solar-panels

Bill Moyers on the United States of ALEC
Sep 28, 2012 ... 'ALEC brings together major U.S. corporations and right-wing legislators to craft and vote on 'model' bills behind closed doors.' Democracy ...
+44 # jbell94521 2014-02-22 23:42
Well no mention of ALEC because as annoying and destructive as they are, they are really a distraction from the real problem. The shadow government is primarily the world's biggest and most powerful banks. They have not really concerned themselves with politics and legislation for the most part for hundreds of years, and they still do not. The following quote is as timely today as it was the day it was uttered, more than 200 years ago: “Let me issue and control a nation’s money and I care not who writes the laws.” Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744-1812), founder of the House of Rothschild.
+16 # Providence 2014-02-22 23:31
Good luck trying to take it back without guns...
+2 # Jingze 2014-02-23 06:58
Sad to say, the USA is moving toward that point. After all, it is a country that firmly believes in Mao's observation.
+8 # indian weaver 2014-02-23 07:28
Why wouldn't everyone choose lawlessness as our last defense? Obama is the most lawless criminal on the planet, our perfect role model for how to behave and how to observe the Rule of Law: "Don't observe it at all". It's a free for all, as stated in the article. Millions of us know that. Most do not.
+11 # guyachs 2014-02-23 12:02
We've done it several times in history without using guns. Your way brings a lot of destruction and the end could be worse than the beginning.
In this country we have the means to take back our government but it means the citizens have to educate themselves and get involved. I know that's much more difficult than shooting a gun but it will be much more productive.
+2 # ReconFire 2014-02-23 17:01
Quoting guyachs:
We've done it several times in history without using guns.

For you're way to work, the opposition must have empathy and shame, they have neither. I'm afraid this will be a fight, believe me I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think so.
+42 # laureljensen 2014-02-22 23:33
Super good stab at trying to expose/explain what is really happening in America and how things are really done at levels far beyond the 99.99% of us mortals. I too worked in DC within the federal government, as a DOD contractor housed in a Naval headquarters environment, and can vouch, x1000, for Lofgren's insight. "Shadow government" is a label, as apt as any, to identify where we are. It's complex and difficult for people to really understand - too many players, too little exposure to these players, and no experience whatsoever to how mega-business is done. That and too much patriotic mythmaking in childhood and beyond (that shapes many of our identities as Americans) to question the validity of that identity and give up the safety of that identity. And ... just plain fear of losing one's employment or bringing down the superstructure that somehow supports us all, no matter how small we are in the system.

But this goes way back. It's not a new development. I've got stories to tell. Lofgren, if you want to swap stories, I'm up for it.
+20 # ReconFire 2014-02-23 07:48
Quoting laureljensen:

But this goes way back. It's not a new development. I've got stories to tell. Lofgren, if you want to swap stories, I'm up for it.

Please share them with us.
+30 # Shorey13 2014-02-22 23:47
The definition of a conspiracy theorist is someone who believes that undemocratic people are attempting to influence events behind the scene. If you didn't already know most of this, you haven't been paying attention. Think PBS will let Bill Moyers air this stuff on his program? Don't hold your breath. Our putative democracy is broken, beyond repair. Sadly, as long as most folks are getting by, there is no chance of a mass movement to change this reality. The bad news is that things have to get a lot worse; The good new (?) is that things are getting a lot worse every day.
+16 # indian weaver 2014-02-23 07:34
Isn't it terrible when the "the good news (?) is that things are getting a lot worse every day."! That my friends is the state of our existence, even if you are not yet aware of what is coming down. Why is that good news? Because a trigger is waiting in the wings to explode and is being ignited in the masses, one-by-one, adding up as each person realizes they are suffering because of our non-government.
+6 # Nominae 2014-02-24 00:30
Quoting Shorey13:
....Think PBS will let Bill Moyers air this stuff on his program? Don't hold your breath.

Many good points in this post except the one above.
Obviously, we now know that Bill Moyers *did* interview this author on "Moyers And Company" and also offered viewers links to this very article on his program.
+52 # curmudgeon 2014-02-22 23:58
As I read the final sentence,

"What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed."

I remembered the demise of individuals who fit "figure with serene self-confidence".....

John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King
Robert Kennedy
Malcolm X
Paul Wellstone

Obama campaigned as if he fit this mold in the primary...howev er, once he won, he replaced his advisors with Hilary Clinton and George Bush functionaries.. ..rallying the Harvard/Yale interests against the interloper

This in firm support of Lofgren's essay.....
+30 # ericlipps 2014-02-23 08:12
Quoting curmudgeon:
As I read the final sentence,

"What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed."

I remembered the demise of individuals who fit "figure with serene self-confidence".....

John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King
Robert Kennedy
Malcolm X
Paul Wellstone

Obama campaigned as if he fit this mold in the primary...however, once he won, he replaced his advisors with Hilary Clinton and George Bush functionaries....rallying the Harvard/Yale interests against the interloper.

Which may be why he's still alive, unlike the others you mention.
+15 # geraldo1 2014-02-23 11:39
How ironic, or telling that all on the list below are dead from unnatural causes. - Gary

Quoting curmudgeon:
As I read the final sentence,

"I remembered the demise of individuals who fit "figure with serene self-confidence".....

John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King
Robert Kennedy
Malcolm X
Paul Wellstone

This in firm support of Lofgren's essay.....
+15 # Activista 2014-02-23 02:10
Great article - Manifesto for the next American Spring. Main reason why Soviet Union empire collapsed was censorship - disinformation and militarism. What we have is a Money Culture - "United States confronts its future after experiencing two failed wars, a precarious economy and $17 trillion in accumulated debt"
+6 # chomper2 2014-02-23 12:50
Correction: four failed wars.
+14 # John S. Browne 2014-02-23 06:18

Concerning the final sentence of this treatise, keep dreaming. It's certainly a nice dream, that the People unravel and/or dismantle the "Deep State", but it is a pipedream. The privatized, shadow government already has too strong a foothold, and runs everything, including the presidency, as well as the other two branches of government.

Thus, the people overthrowing the overthrow of the People (sic), is unlikely. But I hope for it, too. In fact, I call for it myself, because it is our only temporal hope.

Yet, at the same time, I do not hold my breath that it will be successful, because the "Deep State" is so monstrously powerful now, and murders and imprisons everyone who gets in its way, either making it look like an accident or suicide, or like a 'just' "prosecution" and "conviction" (or gets rid of the "troublemakers" in some other way such as discrediting them and getting them to resign from office, etc.).

+13 # John S. Browne 2014-02-23 06:18

So, we MUST try to take our government and country back; but it's definitely a "David vs. Goliath" struggle against a Goliath that is absolutely HUGE. The "Deep State" has now taken the Nazi German "Department of Homeland Security" and turned it into what their puppet, "Barack 'Insane' 'Odrona'" promised, a national civilian army bigger than the U.S. military, working in conjunction with the latter, being militarized and armed-to-the-te eth by the military, to be used against the American people to keep any potential rebellion from having any success, or much of any success.

Therefore, it looks rather hopeless, but miracles can and do happen; so we must try, or die trying; otherwise, our country and most of us along with it are doomed.

+7 # dickbd 2014-02-23 16:55
I feel exactly like you. It looks hopeless, and all we can do is to is to inform others without being too much in the way of cranks in the process. If everyone knew the truth, even entrenched power couldn't stand against it. The trouble is that the problem people also control almost all the flow of information. But, as you say, the improbable sometimes happens.
+11 # Shea Brown 2014-02-23 10:54
I had a nice daydream the other day,,, there was a candidate for senate that registered as an independent and then promised not to accept ANY campaign contributions.
So many things of an opposite nature must occur in order for us to change the current system,, and this could possibly be one of them.
Change begins in small group discussions. We as readers need to bring these discussions into our families, and into our discussions with friends and co-workers.
The "change" begins when articles like Lofgren's are shared, and when people with stories that back up Lofgren's points come forward to tell them. Great, concise, article. One of the very best.
+8 # guyachs 2014-02-23 12:08
John, it can happen. It happened briefly with the populist movement in the late 1800s and the progressive movement in the early 1900s but the state was able to kill each movement by declaring wars. Jimmy Carter was the first president truly elected by the people but they emasculated him very quickly. Read Karp's book 'Liberty Under Siege'. The people have to stay educated and involved. You cannot trust your leaders. Very few of them stayed true. One was FDR.
-7 # Cassandra2012 2014-02-23 12:36
mostly, though it took him a long time to finally decide it was ok to fight since it was only Jews and gays, and gypsies being murdered wholesale...
+1 # Johnny 2014-02-23 22:23
No Communists?
-1 # Cassandra2012 2014-02-24 13:42
them too...

But the red negatives are naive--- I cared for him too, especially compared to the despicable excuses for presidents and statesmen we have had since.
However, it is ridiculous to see someone even as comparatively honorable as FDR through deceptive, rose-colored glasses so you can wallow in false nostalgia. I prefer the truth.
+16 # Anonymot 2014-02-23 07:44
Mr. Lofgren, you have a great capacity for getting at roots and making them clear. I bought a lot of copies of THE PARTY IS OVER for friends. I've been talking about a shadow government for a long time and written often in RSN Comments about it.

Now, with your exposure of who/what really runs America comes another old suggestion: Who might finance a truly independent think tank on the subject of alternative forms of democracy? America has the vehicle, but totally incompetent drivers who have broken the system. To repair the vehicle or transform it is a Hurculean task and requires some serious, realistic contemplation before even attempting to fix it. A mechanic needs a Repair Manual before he undertakes fixing anything.

I've been working on that subject for some time. RSN has my address.
+16 # Atliberty 2014-02-23 07:53
Yes there is wealth of information in this article defining many instances and circumstances through which it can be determined that criminal psychopaths control the United States Government for their sadistic,privat e power and wealth seeking agenda. The authors failed to identify the crux of the matter notably they say we are in debt but they don't mention who the most powerful nation on the planet is in debt to. There is no new world order, just the same order. See the 1783 Treaty of Paris. The private bankers financed both sides of the US revolutionary war and charged US people and People of England interest on the money. The founding fathers of the US were slave owners who practiced genocide against the natives. Here is a video that better explains the recent progression of the evil behind the scenes:http://w watch?v=p8ERfxW ouXs. We the people need to organize and unite to form a new legitimate direct participatory democratically organized government with national popular referendum and no confidence popular vote mechanisms and a currency independent of the private international banking cabal cartel. We owe these gold hording FIAT money wielding sociopath war profiteers nothing. The new currency will be based of work, goods and services provided to individuals as well as the greater community that help us develop our health well being and longevity, Yes we need a revolution now.
+11 # Henry Braun 2014-02-23 08:16

Only from our point of view as masters of the table
does the eater of crumbs glow with a terrible
He clings to our pity like a bat,
certainly. And a few, independent of us princes,
think that disgusting, our table his rafter.
They miss the light in his eyes when we bowl him
the crumb.
For a moment he sees it with the fullest glance, a baby's,
his crumb beyond compare.
There is nothing else in his world but its hollows,
its rims,
bounding dreamily over the tablecloth like sagebrush.
From a distance he drinks the shadows in, facet by facet,
and swells.
What a pleasure to hear us, the deep state princes, counting: two, ah,
until, lovingly, it's his!
+24 # walt 2014-02-23 09:03
Mike Lofgren nails it here without a doubt and says in detail what so many people already claim--our government is owned.

As it has for centuries, the battle continues to be between having government of, by and for the people or government controlled by big money powers. Sadly, as Mike says here, the latter is in control. We have become the USA, Inc.
+19 # PABLO DIABLO 2014-02-23 11:46
"Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda". Ain't that the truth. That and the fact that GREED never sleeps and IGNORANCE never wakes up.
Take back "OUR" government.
+5 # Shea Brown 2014-02-23 11:53
One idea worth mentioning is that I believe that FCC guidelines and regulations still require cable providers to provide community access in their areas of service. In these days where every media outlet is controlled by the powers that be,, every cable channel infested with military recruitment ads, every "news" channel lacking any intelligent debate, these local studios could provide community based opportunities for local discussions and sharing articles such as this wonderfully insightful Lofgren piece. The change and accountability so many of us here seek will never come from anywhere else except from the actions of small, low budget efforts that can offer an alternative to the controlled dribble that now enters every home via the "TUBE." This community access is perhaps our last chance to fight back against those who rule us now so incorrectly.
+3 # Anarchist 23 2014-02-23 12:43
Peter Dale Scott in his book 'Deep Politics and the Death of JFK' analyses this very well. In fact, as a burlesque, Robert Anton Wilson and Thomas Shea do a great job in 'Illuminatus' and that was written as a satirical pastiche back in '73! Interestingly enough, Umberto Eco does a more serious and impeccably scholarly job in 'Foucault's Pendulum' his fiction on somewhat the same subject. It's all fun and games until you see bits of it obtruding into the 'reality' you inhabit. I certainly paid attention to the P2 Masonic Lodge scandal in '82 when a Masonic Lodge tri8ed to take down the Italian member of that lodge was Berlescconi...w ho was the Italian President for ..12 years? I've followed the 'fiction' ever since (and maybe even before) and nothing anywhere really surprises me...
+9 # RicKelis 2014-02-23 15:47
A lot here to digest, but here's some more "food for thought," I have found to be re-postable from time to time:

Know Your Enemy & The invisible Government

"Know your enemy", a saying derived from Sun Tzu's The Art of War

So it is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you can win a hundred battles without a single loss.
If you only know yourself, but not your opponent, you may win or may lose.
If you know neither yourself nor your enemy, you will always endanger yourself.

Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). An Autobiography. 1913.

Theodore Roosevelt: I quote from the Progressive platform: "Behind the ostensible Government sits enthroned an invisible Government, owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics, is the first task of the statesmanship of the day.... This country belongs to the people. Its resources, its business, its laws, its institutions, should be utilized, maintained, or altered in whatever manner will best promote the general interest."
+6 # dickbd 2014-02-23 16:09
It's really a great article, and it confirms a suspicion that I have had for some time: that secrecy and over classification is an important part of our problems. Perhaps we should work for complete openness, since the government has so abused the idea of secrecy. Let there be only military secrets, and let them be few.

I also noticed the comment about the surge. That is one reason that I have felt that precision of terms is important. We weren't really at war in Iraq, we were occupying a country that we had invaded. And you can't win an occupation, you can only tamp down the resistance. If we had called it an occupation instead of a war, there may never have been talk of a surge.
+12 # Anonymot 2014-02-23 18:55
You mention, but perhaps don't come down hard enough on the sideshows. Everything from spending trillions for NASA and beautiful space pictures to social issues like gay marriage and driver's licenses for illegals distracts the publics attention from real, difficult issues. Militancy has so splintered the public's attention that what to do about our disappearing democracy only concerns a few. Our fanaticisms from hundreds of rights from pets to sex become like trying to focus on a moving kaleidoscope. In the process people lose track of the real issues or at best apply band aid solutions to cancerous problems.

I imagine someone like Clapper or Comey or Petraeus must chuckle daily the way we fight over side issues.
+2 # Willman 2014-02-23 21:14
We all are mainly serving as "grist for the mill"
+2 # fredboy 2014-02-24 06:56
And shadow cliques control most businesses and places of worship.
Scarey place.
-15 # Inland Jim 2014-02-24 16:59
Would only add that the author is a failed republican--a person whose genes, by definition, include paranoia and fear mongering.

Salt on the rim of my tequila, bartender.
+4 # John S. Browne 2014-02-24 21:39

Name one thing that he said that you can prove is not true, "Mr. Living-In-A-Fan tasy-World- And-Not-Facing- Reality". Everything he said is quite true; and, if anything, he didn't completely say how bad it really is. And, rather than "Deep State", he should have called it, "Shadow Government". But at least he essentially got the severity of it correct to the considerable extent that he did.

It's not paranoia that history is being repeated in the U.S., "on steroids", and that the U.S. is being turned into the "Fourth Reich" corporate-fasci st authoritarian, and increasingly totalitarian, militarized police state that it is. That is reality; and only those not reading in the right places, and who live in deep avoidance and denial of what's really happening, believe otherwise.

Of course, you will probably, nothing but falsely, call me "paranoid".

Our identification papers are being demanded by cops and military in totally unconstitutiona l, Fourth-Amendmen t-violating checkpoints, as well as many other situations, all across the country, and it's getting worse every day. But, oh no, to those who don't read as I do from trustworthy websites about what's really going on and how bad it's getting to be, it "isn't happening" and it's "paranoia".

+5 # John S. Browne 2014-02-24 21:39

Wake up to how severe the situation in the U.S. is; don't be like the "good Germans" who didn't face what Hitler's increasing tyranny, despotism and control was leading to before it was too late; and stop calling what's really happening in the U.S., "paranoia", like the "good Germans" undoubtedly did as well about what was really happening in Germany back in the 1920s and '30s.

The PTB have most of you "la-la-land Amerikans" blinded to the fact that the U.S. is increasingly being locked down "from sea to shining sea", or from shore to shore.

0 # John S. Browne 2014-02-24 21:37
0 # Racer X 2015-11-01 21:58
The only way to stop the deep state or alter its ability to control is to either have a revolution or a major mass labor movement. Either way it's futile because people have by culture have been conditioned to be selfish and the middle class who could do the most damage is no exception. Sad.

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