Controlled by shadow government: Mike Lofgren reveals
how top U.S. officials are at the
mercy of the “deep state”
Corporate America Is Throwing Down for the
3. 'Greed Is Not
Corrupt Is the American Government?
This is a Nederlog of Wednesday, January 6, 2016.
This is a
crisis blog with 4 items and 5 dotted links: Item 1
is about a quite interesting article on AlterNet, about a former
GOP-er who at present seems quite honest and quite knowledgeable; item 2 is about an article by Sarah Lazare on the TPP,
that I am convinced is an attempt to lay the foundations for 12
neo- fascist states; item 3
is about an article by Bernie Sanders, who yesterday moved strongly
against Wall Street and its very many corruptions and enormous power;
and item 4 is by Washington's Blog and shows long
lists of thoroughly corrupt behavior from very many American
governmental institutions (with proofs or evidence).
I think that at least 3 out of 4 of these articles are worth reading in
Controlled by shadow government: Mike Lofgren reveals how top U.S.
officials are at the mercy of the “deep state”
by Elias Isquith on AlterNet:
This has a subtitle that is worth quoting:
A corrupt network of wealthy
hijacked our government, ex-GOP staffer and best-selling author tells
The "ex-Gop staffer" is Mike Lofgren
(<-Wikipedia), who seems an interesting man. This is a
paragraph from Wikipedia's lemma on him:
In September 2011, Lofgren
published an essay entitled Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a
GOP Operative Who Left the Cult on the website Truthout. In
it he explains why he retired when he did, writing that he was
"appalled at the headlong rush of Republicans to embrace policies that
are deeply damaging to this country’s future; and contemptuous of the
feckless, craven incompetence of Democrats in
their half-hearted attempts to stop them." He charged that both major
American political parties are "rotten captives to corporate loot", but
that while Democrats are merely weak and out of touch, the Republican
Party is "becoming more like an apocalyptic cult". He particularly
described Republicans as caring exclusively about their rich donors;
being psychologically predisposed toward war; and pandering to the anti-intellectual, science-hostile,
fundamentalistfringe. Lofgren wrote that the Tea Party is "filled with lunatics" and
that lawmakers used the "routine" vote to raise the debt limit—which Congress has
done 87 times since the end of World
War II—to create "an entirely artificial fiscal crisis". The essay
received widespread media attention because of Lofgren's status as a
long-term, respected Republican civil servant. Truthout
reported the piece received "over a million views".
Note that Lofgren has worked for the GOP for 28
years. And indeed, the inter- view that follows is quite
From the beginning:
Our lack of a systemic
analysis of the
problem is part of the reason why our answers are so diffuse and
ill-fitting. And that’s just one of the reasons why “The
Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow
Government,” the new book from ex-longtime GOP staffer turned
best-selling author Mike Lofgren, is so valuable. Lofgren puts a name
and a shape to a problem that has often been only nebulously
defined; and while his conclusions are not exactly uplifting,
the logic and sophistication of his argument is hard to
Here are three selections from the interview
that Isquith had with him, all from the beginning:
How should we think about the deep
state? Is it an elite conspiracy? A loosely defined social
group? A network of specific institutions? How should we conceive
Well, first of all, it is not a
conspiracy. It is something that operates in broad daylight. It is not
a conspiratorial cabal. These are simply people who have evolved [into]
a kind of position. It is in their best interest to act in this
And given the fact that people would
rather know about Kim Kardashian than what makes up the budget or what
the government is doing in Mali or Sudan or other unknown places, this
is what you get: a disconnected, self-serving bureaucracy that is
… simply evolving to do what it’s doing now. That is, to maintain
and enhance its own power.
First about the deep state: It is
a fairly well-known concept, as old as the Ancient Greeks,
though often called otherwise, namely "state within
Here is some by the Wikipedia on the last
So that is what Lofgren had in mind.
State within a state
is a political situation in a country when an internal organ ("deep
state"), such as the armed
Sometimes, the term refers to state
companies that, though formally under the command of the
government, act de facto like private corporations. Sometimes,
the term refers to companies that, though formally private, act de
facto like "states within a state".
(intelligence agencies and police),
does not respond to the civilian political leadership. The term, like
many in politics, derives from the Greek language (κράτος εν κράτει, kratos en
kratei, later adopted into Latin as imperium
or status in statu).
To return to his first quotation: I like it that he puts part
of the blame for the arisal of "the deep state" on "the ordinary
people" who - he claims - are often much more interested in the
fate of Kim Kardashian than in what their goverment is doing. 
And I like it because I think it is true, even though I do not
like it that many ordinary people are more concerned with Kim
Kardashian than their own interests.
Next, here are the people who make up the American deep state,
according to Mike Lofgren:
What are the key institutions and
players within the deep state?
The key institutions are exactly what
people would think they are. The military-industrial complex; the
Pentagon and all their contractors (but also, now, our entire homeland
security apparatus); the Department of Treasury; the Justice
Department; certain courts, like the southern district of Manhattan,
and the eastern district of Virginia; the FISA courts. And you got this
kind of rump Congress that consists of certain people in the
leadership, defense and intelligence committees who kind of know what’s
going on. The rest of Congress doesn’t really know or care;
they’re too busy looking about the next election.
This sounds rather convincing, in part
because I know that e.g. the Pentagon and the Justice
Department act corruptly for the rich and corrupt, and as if
they are no part of an honest government.
Here is the last quotation I give. It's
about the powers of Silicon Valley and the extent to which Silicon
Valley is involved in the spying on everyone (which is
constitutionally quite illegal), in which the NSA is so deeply involved:
Although this is not very clear (" willing or
unwilling cooperation") I take it that the
position of Lofgren is that fundamentally Silicon Valley willingly
Silicon Valley provides a lot of
money. But it also has access to an unfathomable amount of information.
Which do you think is more valuable to the deep state — the cash or the
I think you can’t distinguish the two.
There is a tremendous amount of money coming, in terms of lobbying, for
Silicon Valley to get what it wants in terms of intellectual property
and so forth.
At the same time, NSA insiders have
told me that they couldn’t even operate without the cooperation of
Silicon Valley, because the communication backbones that are set up and
operated by Silicon Valley provide the vast majority of
information that the NSA and other intelligence agencies are going to
exploit — and they can’t do it themselves. They need the willing or
unwilling cooperation of Silicon Valley.
There is a lot more in the interview, and you are recommended to read
all of it: It seems mostly true, and is at least somewhat
surprising to hear this from an ex-GOP man.
2. Surprise! Corporate America Is Throwing Down for the TPP
The second item
is by Sarah Lazare. I found it on Truthdig, but originally it appeared
on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
American big business has now officially
endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP),
giving many all the proof they need that the 12-nation\ deal—poised to
be the largest ever—is bad news for people and the planet.
An association of Chief Executive
Officers known as the Business Roundtable (BRT) announced its formal backing on Tuesday, indicating that
it plans to use its muscle to press Congress to approve the deal this
year. In fact, BRT president John Engler told The Hill that the association wants the TPP to
pass as quickly as possible—before the summer.
Incidentally, as Sarah Lazare explains in
the rest of her article, there are quite a few other
organizations of the corporate rich who also are much in favor of the
TPP, and indeed from their point of view they are right:
It will finish democracies, it will finish states of
law, it will finish most that is good or tolerable for the
many, and will give almost all powers not to the people but to the
rich corporate few, who already have billions to spend on
their own further advantages.
It is neo-fascism, as I explained earlier this year, except
that those furthering it do not like to call it that,
presumably because that would be far too honest to serve their
Sarah Lazare also says that the several
large organizations of the corporate rich who lately declared
themselves to be pro TPP probably act in concert:
To be sure, multinational corporations
have already been heavily influential in the TPP negotiations, which
have been conducted in near complete secrecy.
But the endorsements this week appear to
be calculated to add momentum to the deal in Congress. Because the U.S.
Senate passed Fast Track authority this summer, lawmakers will not be
able to debate or amend the deal. But both houses must ratify the TPP,
which will likely be submitted by the White House in the early spring.
I think she is right, and I also think it
is extremely likely this Fast Tracked bill to end
democratic government and democratic law will pass. Next, both
governments and democratic laws will be subjected to the "law"
exercised by the TPP's "law boards", that can quietly and secretly
punish any governmental action that threatens to diminish the
expected profits of the multi-national corporations with hundreds
of millions or several billions in "reparation" for the multi-national
corporations (without any possibility of appealing).
Sarah Lazare ends as follows:
I say it will very probably be the end
of democracies, the end of democratic governments, and - in case the TTIP gets
passed - the end of
all the advantages Europe has for its many non-rich
over the USA.
When the full text of the TPP was finally released this fall, it confirmed
what civil society groups around the world have long warned: the deal
poses a profound threat to global health, the environment and climate, free
speech, and Internet freedom.
3. 'Greed Is Not Good'
The third item is
by Bernie Sanders on Common Dreams:
This starts as follows:
In a speech delivered in
New York City
on Tuesday, Sanders presented a sweeping plan to rein in the greed of
the nation’s biggest financial institutions, drawing sharp contrasts
with Sec. Clinton’s approach. "My opponent says that as a senator she
told bankers to ‘cut it out’ and end their destructive behavior,"
Sanders said. "But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones
who need to ‘cut it out.’ The reality is that Congress doesn’t regulate
Wall Street. Wall Street and their lobbyists regulate Congress. We must
change that reality and as president I will."
In fact, the text I will
quote below is not from the speech, but from the "Prepared
Remarks" (which are quite good). For those who want to see and hear the
speech, it is here (also on Common Dreams) - and no, I didn't see this
Next, here are two quotations from
Sanders' "Prepared Remarks" (that are much more extensive, and
quite interesting). Both are from the beginning.
First, there is this:
The American people are
They understand that something is profoundly wrong when, in our country
today, the top one-tenth of 1 percent own almost as much wealth as the
bottom 90 percent and when the 20 richest people own more wealth than
the bottom 150 million Americans – half of our population. They know
that the system is rigged when the average person is working longer
hours for lower wages, while 58 percent of all new income goes to the
top 1 percent.
They also know that a
handful of people
on Wall Street have extraordinary power over the economic and political
life of our country. As most people know, in the 1990s and later, the
financial interests spent billions of dollars in lobbying and campaign
contributions to force through Congress the deregulation of Wall
Street, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and the weakening of
consumer protection laws in states.
They spent this money in
order to get
the government off their backs and to show the American people what
they could do with that new-won freedom. Well, they sure showed the
American people. In 2008, the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior
on Wall Street nearly destroyed the U.S. and global economy.
Precisely. And this is about greed and
Greed, fraud, dishonesty and arrogance,
these are the words that best describe the reality of Wall Street today.
So, to those on Wall Street who may be listening today, let me be very
clear. Greed is not good. In fact, the greed of Wall Street and
corporate America is destroying the fabric of our nation. And, here is
a New Year’s Resolution that I will keep if elected president. If you
do not end your greed, we will end it for you.
We will no longer tolerate an economy
and a political system that has been rigged by Wall Street to benefit
the wealthiest Americans in this country at the expense of everyone
I quite agree - and indeed
this also is a risky position for Bernie Sanders to take,
though indeed it is the only fair one for someone who wants to benefit all
Americans instead of merely the richest few.
There is a lot more under the
last-but-one dotted link, which is recommended reading.
4. How Corrupt Is the American Government?
fourth item is
by Washington's Blog on his site:
The reasons I like this are (1) I think it is true: Yes,
ordinary people are very easily deceived by those in power, and
are so essentially by stupidity or ignorance; (2)
I think it is important: There will not
be a democracy for a long time if large slabs of ordinary people are
successfully deceived by the rich few; and (3) Bill Maher and I are the
only people I know who are willing to say
that most people are rather stupid, and that this is a danger
to any real democracy.