Lofgren’s related essay can be read here. He’s a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. Lofgren is on for the first twenty minutes, then Lee Fang and the author of ‘Dog Whistle Politics’, Ian Haney López who did FDL’s most recent book salon speak with Moyers. It’ a longish post; pick and choose as you will…
More about Dana Priest’s Top Secret America can be found here.
While Lofgren is chillingly correct overall, there are a few things to quibble with here. One is that the Democrats could have eliminated the filibuster altogether during their majority had they so chosen, as they did last year for judicial and other executive branch appointments. A lot of ink has been spent discussing why they chose not to.
In his long list of entities comprising the Deep State government, Lofgren left out the various regulatory agencies that comport their daily business almost totally as in the pockets of Wall Street, the Security State, and multinational corporations: SEC, EPA, FCC, USDA, FDA, and so forth; they are key core enablers as well.
He also neglects to name the FBI, DEA, private surveillance companies and strike-busting enforcers as part and parcel of the Deep State, but yes; it’s a quibble. I’m not as cheered as Mike as to how much the nation is waking up to what’s going on behind the visible government, but I was amused at his contention that the Tea Partiers have been acting as a bit of a foil to funding everything that ‘government’ wants. My favorite bits from Lofgren’s accompanying essay:
‘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. [snip]
‘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.’
While I don’t particularly subscribe to the ‘one serene figure; notion, this is good to hold in our minds as the weight of this Empire seems to be sagging under its own weight, scrambling madly to extend hegemony and resource extraction globally as it seeks to block China and Russia from the same:
‘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.’
An ugly, albeit unsurprising development from the office of Nouri Al-Malki:
‘BAGHDAD: Iraq, struggling to curb its worst violence in years, is offering bounties of up to $25,000 for killing or capturing a foreign jihadist fighter, state television reported Thursday.
The Defense Ministry is offering 20 million dinars ($16,666) to anyone who “kills a foreign terrorist from ISIS [the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria] and Al-Qaeda” and 30 million dinars to anyone who captures “a terrorist from among them,” it reported’.
Quite reminiscent of Bagdad Rummy’s ‘’Pursue, Kill, Capture Bad Guy Hunting Cards’, eh? Yeppers, we know how to birth democracy in foreign lands. How many Afghans ended up in Gitmo being fingered by enemies in a similar US program in ‘the graveyard of Empires’?
‘When it comes to fighting the ‘double state’, knowledge is power’.
Also quite related to Lofgren’s understanding is this report from PrivacySOS.org (h/t: TarheelDem),
‘A new essay advances the conversation considerably by examining the deep state’s origins in the United States and identifying its sources of power. Michael Glennon’s ‘National Security and Double Government’ describes the deep state phenomenon in the US as a ‘double state’, with ‘efficient’ institutions like the National Security Council and the CIA running the show, while the ‘dignified’ institutions—the courts, congress, and the elected members of the executive branch—play a supporting, public relations role. The efficient institutions use their secret knowledge (which translates into power) to advance the proposition that only they can protect democracy, and argue that they need near limitless authority and money to do it.
“America’s efficient institution makes most of the key decisions concerning national security, removed from public view and from the constitutional restrictions that check America’s dignified institutions. The United States has, in short, moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system—a structure of double government—in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy.”
Instead of some carefully plotted conspiracy on the part of the nation’s well-heeled elites, this state of affairs has come about, the author argues, as an unlucky coincidence.
In light of its numerous, costly failures, what protects the efficient institutions from the wrath of a truly democratic public? For Glennon, it’s all about information. Knowledge starved citizens stand no chance of fighting the supremacy of the efficient state. When people do not know basic facts about either the history or the present, they are easily managed. “There is, accordingly, little need for purposeful deception to induce generalized deference [to the will of the efficient institutions]; in contemporary America…, a healthy dose of theatrical show goes a long way.”
In an effort to eat away at some of that ignorance, Glennon’s essay provides an important history of post-WWII United States government, illustrating how the deep or efficient institutions developed. Harry Truman’s role in the creation and promotion of efficient institutions like the CIA and NSC was so central that the author uses ‘Trumanite’ to describe the opposite of ‘Madisonian’. The Trumanite institutions function in the dark; they privilege knowledge and insider-ness. Madisonian institutions, meanwhile, while serving as the public face of democratic government, have less and less influence in critical decision making.’
Yes; they no longer even have to hide a lot of things from us, we are so captured by propaganda by the MSM and Infotainment Complex. But I’d not let this or any other President off the hook so easily: this one has taken Bush’d regime and run with it.
Good night, and good luck.
(cross-posted at My.firedoglake.com)