Saturday, June 24, 2017

Crisis: Deconstructing America's 'Deep State'

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1. Summary
2. Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, June 24, 2017.

1. Summary

This is a crisis log but it is a bit different from how it was the last four years:

I have been writing about the crisis since September 1, 2008 (in Dutch) and about the enormous dangers of surveillance (by secret services and by many rich commercial entities) since June 10, 2013, and I probably will continue with it, but on the moment I have several problems with my computer, my modem, the company that is supposed to take care that my site is visible, and my health.

There is an earlier file of today that lists six items, while the present file is a repeat of a part of a Nederlog of February 13, 2016, because I like it and because I think it is relevant and important. Also, I will refer to it in a later item.

2. Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

This item is by Chuck Spinney (<-Wikipedia) on Consortiumnews:

This starts as follows, and is a quite interesting article you should read in full:

Just about everyone knows something is dangerously wrong with our nation’s political system. There is a growing awareness that the United States is drifting blindly into a state of greater inequality, stagnation, oligarchy and perpetual war, with a ruling establishment that neither responds to the will of the people nor to the problems our nation faces.

For evidence of this pervasive sense of unease, look no further than the 2016 presidential election, where a bombastic celebrity billionaire and a crusty grandfatherly democratic socialist are claiming the political system is rigged and are driving the scions of the status quo into the rubber room — at least for now.

This was just the introduction. Here is some about the author of "The Deep State":

Mike Lofgren has written a timely exegesis of that status quo and its staying power. He makes it easier for any concerned citizen to understand the realities of the political and constitutional crises now facing the United States — and perhaps even improve the reader’s sense for the madness and anger that now characterizes 2016 presidential election.

Chuck Spinney also warns his readers that he Lofgren is "a long-time colleague and a close friend" and gives this background:

It grew out of a stunning essay – “Anatomy of the Deep State” (February 2014) — that Lofgren produced at the request of journalist Bill Moyers. Lofgren has written a tour de force that takes the reader on a wild ride through a swamp of confusion and disorder that reeks of corruption. His writing is at once witty and particular, but also general and prescriptive.

Before I go on, something about the deep state (<- Wikipedia). This is from the last linked lemma: The concept originated in Turkey, and has since been broadened, and amounts to the following (according to Wikipedia):

The notion of deep state is similar to that of a "state within the state". For those who believe in its existence, the political agenda of the deep state involves an allegiance to nationalism, corporatism, and state interests. Violence and other means of pressure have historically been employed in a largely covert manner to manipulate political and economic elites and ensure specific interests are met within the seemingly democratic framework of the political landscape.

I am one of "those who believe in its existence", were it only because

(i) extremely much about the doings of any national state I know anything about (including the USA, Great Britain, Holland and Norway) are kept secret;
(ii) there are quite a few decisions taken in these and other nations that cannot
be accounted for by known politics and known economics; and also
(iii) one would assume anyway (and I know this is a fact) that very strong interest groups would try to get into government (and especially the big bankers, the "military-industrial complex", and "big oil" have gotten into the American governments, indeed by "revolving doors", as if this were a matter of course).

Then again, simply because this is - in part, at least - a government behind the
elected government, which itself has not been elected, and which is mostly not talked about, it is not clear what "the deep state" is or may be for any specific country.

But here is a considerable amount of clarity:

Lofgren’s analysis centers on how the looting operations of three mutually reinforcing “pillars” (my word) of the contemporary American Deep State evolved over time. These “pillars” are themselves self-organizing groupings of coincident interests that work to insensibly co-opt and exploit the fissures in the mechanistic distribution of power designed into the Constitution by James Madison.

These emergent groupings form what some essayists have called an “iron triangle” of capitalists in the private sector and professional bureaucrats as well as elected officials in the legislative and executive branches of government, as well as in the menageries inhabited by hangers on, wannabees, journalists, and parasites feeding off the triangular host.

These triangles are energized by money flows and influence peddling, and their operations are lubricated by a maze of revolving doors that enable the individual players to climb the greasy pole to power and riches by moving freely back and forth from one corner to another — all the while pumping the money and propaganda needed by the triangle to survive and grow — on its own terms!

This helps some, while the following figure adds a lot:

Figure 1 is my simplified schematic outlining the basic features of an iron triangle.


clicking the image goes to the source

There is this in additional explanation:

Lofgren’s analysis takes us around three triangles by examining the maze of living relationships making up (1) the triangular money pumping operations of the Military-Industrial- Congressional Complex, as well as the more subtle looting and power grabbing operations of (2) the de-regulating scams of Big Finance and (3) the big-brother spying operations of the pseudo-libertarian hyper-capitalists of Silicon Valley.

To be sure, there are many other iron triangles that Lofgren does not discuss in great detail (e.g., Big Pharma, Big AG and the food supply, etc.), but his story is clear enough and sufficiently broad enough to make the larger argument.

Yes, indeed: What you see is just one iron triangle out of many more, though the above one is central.

Here is a precisification by Chuck Spinney:

While Lofgren does not say so, I would argue there are growing signs that the emerging American political economy combines many elements of classical fascism and corporatism with neoliberal laissez-faire economics into something that is new and peculiarly American — a political economy that exhibits fascist tendencies, but unlike classical fascism, subordinates the state to neoliberal corporatist interests, while it exploits many of fascism’s authoritarian organizing principles to stabilize the emerging status quo.

I quite agree. There is considerably more in the article, including another very
clear graphic, but I leave that to your interests, after saying again that this is a quite interesting article that you ought to read in full.

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