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The Big Answer


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The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government

a book by Mike Lofgren

(our site's book review)

Lofgren: Our Ailing Government Is a Perpetual Motion Machine of Mass Destruction, a Lumbering Apparatus of Greed and Dysfunction

This book explores the ugly thread that connects the war on terror, the militarization of America's foreign policy, rising inequality and the dysfunction that plagues our government. Mr. Lofgren sees our ailing government as a perpetual motion machine of mass destruction, a lumbering apparatus of greed and dysfunction. Bill Moyers, a perceptive scholar on democracy and a courageous journalist, invited him to be a guest on Moyers & Company twice, and this book evolved from those events. The Deep State is described as “a hybrid association of key elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States with only limited reference to the consent of the governed as normally expressed through elections.” Before delving into the book, we feel it would be prudent to define terms and check out the recent horrid antics of the Supreme Court:

The Shadow Government of the United States of America
The Shadow Government of the United States of America

Conspiracy or Not? Not Important, So Focus on Bottom-Up, Grassroots Actions

Corporatocracy: rule by an oligarchy of corporate elites through the manipulation of a formal democracy. In our country it evolved because of the large U.S. military establishment after World War II, big corporate money financing election campaigns, the Supreme Court rubber-stamping the buying of elections by corporations (see below), and globalization tilting the balance away from workers. It's a pejorative term often used by critics of the current corrupt economic situation in the United States. (C. Wright Mills called Corporatocracy leaders the Power Elite. Mills explains that the elite themselves may or may not be aware of their status as a ruling elite, therefore current American conspiracy theorists may or may not be correct in their "conspiracy" attributions. If they are aware, it still falls short of proving conspiracy, simply because such people may have lucked into their power positions by way of any number of mechanisms, so, since none of us are mind-readers, let's just state for the record that conspiracy is likely, but unproven, and then let it go at that, as it will drain away valuable energies if we debate such issues.)

Oligarchy: a government, like the U.S., in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.

Plutocracy: a specific form of oligarchy which defines a society ruled or controlled by the small minority of the wealthiest citizens—like the U.S. Plutocrats anger the citizens by ignoring their social responsibilities, using their power to serve their own purposes and thereby increasing poverty and nurturing class conflict, corrupting societies with greed and hedonism.

Those with their eyes wide open and who don't accept the media's and the politicians' slanted, self-serving versions of truth and reality and conventional wisdom are easily concluding that—unpleasant as it is—the U.S. is an oligarchical, plutarchical corporatocracy. The only unsure element in this mess is the conspiracy element, folks.

Conspiracy
Conspiracy

Conspiracy: an agreement between two or more persons to engage jointly in an unlawful or criminal act, or an act that is innocent in itself but becomes unlawful when done by the combination of actors. Federal statutes, and many state statutes, now require not only agreement and intent but also the commission of an overt act in furtherance of the agreement. You and we may—and do—feel that Cheney, the Bushes and Obama are all treasonous people, starting and prolonging unprovoked, evil wars because they happen to feel like it, but rots-o-ruck proving it!

Where'd We Get the Crazy Idea to Let Ass Clowns Like G.H.W. Bush, Dubya, and Obama Lead the U.S.A.?

G.H.W. Bush with his secret service—a traitor because he and Cheney pushed Dubya to start the Iraq War?
G.H.W. Bush with his secret service—a traitor because he and Cheney pushed Dubya to start the Iraq War?


A traitor because G.H.W. Bush and Cheney pushed Dubya to start the Iraq War?
A traitor because G.H.W. Bush and Cheney pushed Dubya to start the Iraq War?


George Dubya Bush—a traitor because he started the Iraq War?
George Dubya Bush—a traitor because he started the Iraq War?


How the Hell Did We Let Right-Wing Radicals Get on the Supreme Court?

Special interests cough up lots of money and buy the policies they want and the candidates they want. This was made very easy by the recent (2014) Supreme Court ruling. After the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizen's United case, the movement of the US towards a corporatocracy is complete. Justice Stevens, of the minority dissenting opinion, wrote: "At bottom, the Court's opinion is thus a rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a need to prevent corporations from undermining self-government since the founding, and who have fought against the distinctive corrupting potential of corporate electioneering since the days of Theodore Roosevelt." The ruling effectively drowns out the voices of everyday Americans and allows the buying of elections by the rich.

In other words, according to the Supreme Court, when corporations spend billions manipulating elections and obtain the desired results, this is “democracy.” This Orwellian characterization of democracy is agreed to only by members of the ruling oligarchy of the corporatocracy itself, not by We The People. There is no longer any point in citizens voting. To what end? The Corporatocracy will simply buy the election after which they will virtually own that candidate. If this is democracy, then Obama and the Bushes are great American heroes! We finally have a crystal clear case of impeachable corruption at the highest level of our judicial system. These bozos know full well that this decision destroys the basis of true democracy—a form of government they obviously no longer believe in. Well we, the people, DO believe in it and we want these traitors gone! The right-wing extremists obviously found a way to get to these justices. Was it bribes, threats, or promises? We will never know.

As long as corporations are the main deciding force in elections rather than the citizens, democracy will be impossible
As long as corporations are the main deciding force in elections rather than the citizens, democracy will be impossible

“The Framers [of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights] took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare,” Stevens wrote in his dissent of the court's appalling decision. Since their money outspends private citizens, the will of the people no longer has even the slightest chance in elections. In essence, the high court gave the corporations carte blanche to simply buy the elections, and the people's will has now become a pathetic irrelevancy.

While the Supreme Court finds more and more “rights” in the Constitution for corporations to enjoy, it is simultaneously effecting a sweeping rollback of democratic rights for ordinary people. Say, whose side are these people on, anyway? We thought they were supposed to be on our side, protecting the people's rights. Those days are gone forever, folks!

President Obama called the court's appalling decision “a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” (But isn't he the same ass clown that fed these same powerful interests big windfalls via ObamaDon'tCare and—without even asking us—gave away nearly a trillion dollars of the public's money in the world's biggest bailout, giving it to these same Corporatocracy members so they could have huge bonuses and golden parachutes? He turns out to be the biggest culprit of all in the schemes to "drown out the voices of everyday Americans"!) "Too big to fail" is the rationale here. But this is doublespeak for "too big not to be allowed to buy elections and act like the Corporatocracy it is, running things however they please."

"Today, five conservative activist Supreme Court Justices presided over the murder of our Republic and gave birth to the new 'corporatocracy' in Citizens United v. FEC. It is nominally a First Amendment case, but it is so much more than that. This opinion will enter the pantheon of the worst decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court, cases wrongly decided in favor of the wealthy and powerful ruling elite." (Source: Conservative activist Supreme Court gives birth to the new “corporatocracy” in Citizens United v. FEC)

'Let's see now: It looks an awfully lot like a duck, and it quacks an awfully lot like a duck, and it walks an awfully lot like a duck—I wonder what it is?'
'Let's see now: It looks an awfully lot like a duck, and it quacks an awfully lot like a duck, and it walks an awfully lot like a duck—I wonder what it is?'

A Corporatocracy is defined as rule by an oligarchy of corporate elites through the manipulation of a formal democracy and that is what the U.S. has been for a while now, so if it looks like a Corporatocracy and quacks like a Corporatocracy and walks like a Corporatocracy, then it must indeed BE a Corporatocracy!

"The Roberts Court has turned back the clock on our democracy by a century." —Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.)

The United States must "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations." —Thomas Jefferson bluntly declared in 1816.

Welcome to the Corporatocracy
"Justice Kennedy may well have secured his place in history as the man who killed our democracy."

“Unless this mortal blow is somehow undone, within ten years, every politician in this country will be a prostitute.” —Keith Olbermann, MSNBC

“Unless this mortal blow is somehow undone, within ten years, every politician in this country will be a prostitute.” —Keith Olbermann, MSNBC
“Unless this mortal blow is somehow undone, within ten years, every politician in this country will be a prostitute.” —Keith Olbermann, MSNBC


The Deep State is Not a Conspiratorial Cabal (Sorry, TV's The Blacklist)

Mr. Lofgren, who had 28 years as a senior budget and national security expert with the Republican staff in Congress, says that "The U.S. is 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. . . The deep state has created so many contradictions in this country. You have this enormous disparity of rich and poor; and you have this perpetual war, even though we’re braying about freedom. We have a surveillance state, and we talk about freedom. We have internal contradictions. Who knows what this will fly into? It may collapse like the Soviet Union; or it might go into fascism with a populist camouflage — like Trump is selling us." (Source: Controlled by shadow government: Mike Lofgren reveals how top U.S. officials are at the mercy of the “deep state”)

As long as corporations are the main deciding force in elections rather than the citizens, democracy will be impossible
As long as corporations are the main deciding force in elections rather than the citizens, democracy will be impossible

The public is "now aware of the disproportionate influence of powerful corporations over Washington, best exemplified by the judicial travesty known as the Citizens United decision," and they put on an Occupy Wall Street demonstration that screamed to this Oligarchy that the income disparity is unfair, only to be laughed at by Wall Street. As Mr. Lofgren says, the institutions of government have become more and more "resistant to the popular will." We are their cash cows and we're supposed to shut up and let them milk us, mooing only to attract bulls so that us cows can reproduce and make those in power more money. Our broken nation is manifesting "symptoms of a shadow government ruling the United States that pays little heed to the plain words of the Constitution."

We Are the Corporatocracy's Cash Cows and We're Supposed to Shut Up and Let Them Milk Us

We are their corporatocracy's cash cows and we're supposed to shut up and let them milk us, mooing only to attract bulls so that us cows can reproduce and make those in power more money
We are their corporatocracy's cash cows and we're supposed to shut up and let them milk us, mooing only to attract bulls so that us cows can reproduce and make those in power more money

Mr. Lofgren's purpose in writing this book is to help us pull back the curtain in the Palace in Oz and find out that the wizard we thought we understood is not at all what we thought. We were told by the media and politicians that the Emperor is wearing clothes, and yet here is an author willing to tear off our blinders so that we can see that, indeed, the Emperor wears no clothes!

Conventional wisdom is that the Emperor is wearing clothes, and yet Lofgren proves that the Emperor wears no clothes!
Conventional wisdom is that the Emperor is wearing clothes, and yet Lofgren proves that the Emperor wears no clothes!


No wonder the public seems so confused and nothing ever changes. They're choking on misinformation that comes their way via political manipulation of citizens and via the Culture War!
No wonder the public seems so confused and nothing ever changes. They're choking on misinformation that comes their way via political manipulation of citizens and via the Culture War!

Which starts us thinking: if they lied to us about that, what else did they lie about? Most Washington insiders know that the hype from media and politicians must be taken with a grain of salt, but—it's worse than that. Much worse! Most of the info we get from these sources is not only misinformation—it's also irrelevant, as is the election farce we participate in every four years even though we all know that no voting can possibly change anything. So what difference does it make when we elect yet another corporatocracy flunky? They'll sell us out because even Congressional pages realize that whoever has the gold makes the rules, and the corporatocracy has the gold.

What difference does it make when we elect yet another corporatocracy flunky?—they'll sell us out, because whoever has the gold makes the rules, and the corporatocracy has the gold
What difference does it make when we elect yet another corporatocracy flunky?—they'll sell us out, because whoever has the gold makes the rules, and the corporatocracy has the gold

The Bush Regime and the U.S. Right to Attack Whoever We Want

The author tells us that Deep State players "hold a very deep ideology of the Washington consensus at home, which is deregulation, outsourcing, de-industrialization and financialization. And they believe in American exceptionalism abroad, which is boots on the ground everywhere, it’s our right to meddle everywhere in the world. And the result of that is perpetual war."

When Bush and Obama said their wars on terror may go on indefinitely, you can just imagine these fat cats rolling around in huge money bins laughing just like Scrooge McDuck
When Bush and Obama said their wars on terror may go on indefinitely, you can just imagine these fat cats rolling around in huge money bins laughing just like Scrooge McDuck

Speaking of meddling everywhere in the world and causing perpetual war, here are the words of author Charles Derber: "After 9/11, President Bush declared regime change to be official U.S. policy. He took this country to war to create regime change in Iraq. How does the president know which governments to overthrow? According to Bush’s criteria, a government must:

  1. build or sell weapons of mass destruction
  2. violate U.N. resolutions
  3. threaten, invade, or dominate its neighbors
  4. exploit many of its own poorest citizens
  5. erode the civil liberties or human rights of its people
  6. fail to live up to democratic ideals
The president [Dubya], of course, was thinking of countries like Iraq, Iran, North Korea, or Syria. But look at the list more carefully. Sound familiar? The criteria that call for regime change apply to the American government itself. Americans live under a regime that is threatening to dominate not just its neighbors but the world as a whole." (Source: Regime Change Begins at Home: Freeing America from Corporate Rule.) If, as George Dubya Bush says, these are the correct criteria for regime change, doesn't that mean the U.S. needs regime change now? And that is precisely the author's (Charles Derber) insightful point! See Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.

U.S. neocons' imperialism and warmongering is out of control yet the Congress tasked with stopping such abuses is mute—something smells rotten in Washington!
U.S. neocons' imperialism and warmongering is out of control yet the Congress tasked with stopping such abuses is mute—something smells rotten in Washington! The game is rigged. Bailouts? The biggest companies got help while the little guy got the finger.


Neocon nutjobs tell us that dumping our Bill of Rights and our Constitution was a prerequisite for our safety, which no intelligent citizen could possibly buy
Neocon nutjobs tell us that dumping our Bill of Rights and our Constitution was a prerequisite for our safety, which no intelligent citizen could possibly buy

This book is a helpful guide to our slide into plutocracy. And oligarchy. And corporatocracy. Have you ever wondered why Obama’s policies look so much like Bush’s? It is because actual power lies in the Deep State, Washington’s shadowy power elite, which is in the pockets of corporate interests and dependent on the moguls of Silicon Valley, whose data-collecting systems enable our government to spy on our every move. Mr. Lofgren concludes this excellent book with a set of recommendations for reform.

9/11 terrorist attack
9/11 terrorist attack


Other Shadow Government Perspectives

Various authors see the shadow government from various perspectives—like the blind men and the elephant, but the overall gist is creepily similar
Various authors see the shadow government from various perspectives—like the blind men and the elephant, but the overall gist is creepily similar