Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State

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The U.S. Capitol is seen in Washington, Monday, June 17, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rome lived upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. Industry is the only true source of wealth, and there was no industry in Rome. By day the Ostia road was crowded with carts and muleteers, carrying to the great city the silks and spices of the East, the marble of Asia Minor, the timber of the Atlas, the grain of Africa and Egypt; and the carts brought out nothing but loads of dung. That was their return cargo.

The Martyrdom of Man by Winwood Reade (1871)


There 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.

Photo: Dale Robbins
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.”

Photo: Dale Robbins
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.

Mike Lofgren on the Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight
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.

Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. His book about Congress, The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted, appeared in paperback on August 27, 2013.
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  • Justin

    This is the most important sketch of American politics I’ve seen in a long time. Great essay, Mike!

  • Anonymous

    Another attribute of the “Deep State” is that is highly nepotistic. Entry into it relies on connections rather than skill. Many positions within it exist simply to provide suitably lucrative work for the children of the ruling class.

  • upine

    Brilliant and informative article. Thanks, Mike.

  • GRAPHICTAG

    SOUNDS VERY MUCH LIKE A RUNAWAY TRAIN!

  • Nisswapaddy

    Lofgren has certainly provided a good overview of the situation, although what he postulates is by no means original thinking. However, it is particularly heartening to have this analysis come from a fellow who could easily have sold his soul like David Petraeus, to name just one in an endless line of the well connected who have cashed in. Yet I believe our situation is more dire than even Lofgren suggests. As the philosopher John Ralston Saul characterized it, we have undergone a coup d’etat in slow motion and now live, not in a constitutional democracy but ‘Democracy Inc.’ (described in detail in a book by the same name by Prof. Sheldon Wolin). LIke Lofgren, neither of these thinkers sees some carefully contrived conspiracy at work. It is merely the inevitable result of following a rigid ideology that allows unfettered corporate capitalism to have its way unopposed and essentially unregulated. Now that massive corporation have taken control of all the levers of power (as Lofgren summarizes above) it will be very, very difficult for ‘the people’ to take them back. Remember what Upton Sinclair observed over 100 years ago:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him NOT understanding it.”

    I give you men like Dave Petraeus, or Jamie Dimon or (fill in the blank) who are subject to this ‘lack of understanding’. They are not co-conspirators, at least not in any active, conscious sense. However, the corporations they work for, whose only function is to maximize profits for the benefit of their shareholders and investors and to ‘externalize’ any and all costs and expenses possible, are, by definition, sociopaths. And those corporations, run by men and women simply doing their jobs and going home to a loving family, also have a ‘lack of understanding’. When the corporation you work for has only reason for being, to make a profit ‘come heck or high water’, and that corporation and hundreds of others with the she mission, control the executive, congress, the judiciary and their regulators (who are now required to call the corporations they supposedly regulate “their customers” ) it doesn’t take much imagination to see how we got where we are. Nor how it is that corporations get what they need, the rest of us be dammed. In short, the ‘deep state’ Lofgren shines a light on is much deeper than he indicates. And it will take more than spats between large corporations to bring it to an end.

  • William Jacoby

    Good essay but everybody should know this by now. In the next elections, in which good candidates will by definition not be viable because they won’t be bankrolled by the Deep State, we must use the alternative media to coalesce around a few non-negotiable demands. Things like prosecuting Clapper for lying, immediate prohibition of the intelligence community’s revolving door, nationalization of companies like Booz Allen, creation of public banks as suggested by Ellen Brown and nationalization of banks too big to fail, a student loan debt strike, and a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United. Failure to grant these demands must be met with withdrawal from the two-party system; go Green or go Libertarian, whichever you prefer, but put a monkey wrench in the system. Keep using the alternative media, defend them from the Deep State, educate yourself, network with the growing numbers of people who are onto the Deep State, or the National Security State, or whatever you want to call it. But get over talking about how the Constitution is in danger; it’s dead, and if there’s anything you liked about it, you’ll have to bring it back from the graveyard. Take action, and support others who do.

  • aTomsLife

    Half way through, this was already one of the most cogent and quotable essays I’d ever read. While the second half cemented that perspective. Thank you, Mr. Lofgren.

  • cross1242

    Unfortunately, I don’t see anything changing the Deep State or the government in Washington until there is some kind of revolution. That revolution might be bloodless but nothing guarantees that. If the Deep State ultimately feels threatened, it will defend itself with all the national security forces at its command.

  • Meri Perkins

    Thank you Mike…great essay…wonderful of you to speak to us as a true patriot.

  • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

    Politics as charade.

  • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

    Exactly.

  • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

    Yes. An example. Paper granted PhD’s are “promised” suitably lucrative work in academia. So it’s not just corporate.

  • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

    Time for you to read Foucault’s Discipline and Punish and all the rest of his work. Include Virilio, Baudrillard and the rest of Continental Philosophy. Lofgren is just catching up with a long way to go. Check out Zizek.

  • Kibik

    Look up “Bohemian Club” too.

  • Peter Michaelson

    The fact that an invisible government of elites is in charge of our democracy is entirely predictable. This political arrangement simply depicts the state of our psychological development. We have a “Deep State” within our unconscious mind. Our thoughts, desires, aspirations, and beliefs are all under the influence of this inner “Deep State.” Through our ego we’re each like a puppet prince, thinking we’re in charge of the show. Both liberals and conservatives have too much invested in self-image and are afraid of facing what amounts to an inner tyranny. We’re too egotistical and narcissistic; we don’t want to be humbled by inner truth. We’ve produced superficial psychologies (behavioral, positive, cognitive, etc.) that refuse to face the inner reality. We’ll have real democracy in America and the world when we establish inner democracy. It can be done, and it needs to be done soon. Start by tossing out all the so-called “scientific psychology” that academic psychologists are pedaling. Go back to Freud and understand what he’s really saying, that we’ll go on generating suffering and self-defeat until we become more conscious of our inner conflicts, psychological defenses, and entanglements in negative emotions.

  • mea_mark

    Easier said than done. Meditating can help though.

  • Anonymous

    Incredible. I’ll have to read this several times. I’m going to share this liberally. I’m speechless. I already knew everything the author discusses, but he puts it all together beautifully. Thank you, Sir.

  • Anonymous

    Freud, Jung, Adler

  • http://personalgrounding.com/ Todd Cunningham

    Thank I hope more people wake up

  • Anonymous

    As has been mentioned the greatest power is the people. Without the cooperation of the people none of the pathological behavior described would be possible. The West Coast Strike of 1934 is an example of what can be done. A major way that the 1% control the 99% is through debt. That control could actually be reversed. What would happen if only 10% of the 99% decided to no longer to pay their debts? A movement like that could rapidly escalate once people realize that there is no system that could cope with massive non payment of debt.
    What would happen if the pilots, truck drivers, rail workers and dock workers decided to strike? or the telecommunication workers? All or any of those could be implemented peacefully. No need to hit the streets. Just stay home and contribute nothing to the deep state. Imagine how long it could survive the massive non cooperation of the 99%. There is a multitude of possibilities.

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Lofgren clearly understands the shadow government, but seems to be in denial regarding the Wizard(s) pulling the strings (as that would be a “conspiracy”).

    Ruby slippers may help with that Mike…

  • Charles Shaver

    ‘How can I thank thee [Bill Moyers], let me count the ways…’ and now, too, Mike Lofgren. For some time I’ve been thinking that vastly superior aliens from deep space might be holding the U.S. Government hostage and causing all of the recent illegal, immoral, unconstitutional and just plain stupid national self-destruction. What a relief to learn it is only too-typical low IQ humanity that is responsible. Seriously, now, that which gives me the audacity and courage to comment on these things about which I personally know so little, is my lay acquired understanding of the basics. To me, in early 2014, these are mere, obvious, matters of the hierarchy of law, relevant laws and violations thereof.

    Ignoring most of the basics and my personal lack of qualifications, suffice it to say for now that above and beyond the laws of man are those self-evident in nature. Insightfully, since August of 1975, I have observed not only do the higher laws apply to both machine and man but the U.S. Constitution is imbedded with them, intentionally or not. So, to finally get to the point, when Mike Lofgren says ‘Groupthink’ I think of The Universal Law of Order: “Whenever two or more individuals unite to form an organization the survival of the organization becomes paramount to the survival of the individual.” and how the Constitution was ignored again. When someone says ‘there’s nothing I can do’ I think of The Third Rule of Human Behavior: “Self-determination shall prevail.” and how the Constitution was ignored again. Deep space, or ‘Deep State,’ it ‘don’t look good’ for us when a vast majority keeps enabling a selfish minority to impose rule. Now, it will probably take a paradigm shift to fix what’s broke but, fortunately, naturally, ‘shift happens.’

  • http://leisureguy.wordpress.com Leisureguy

    Magnificent article—greatly extends the range of my awareness, since I was just starting to get a glimpse of this.

    It should definitely be noted in the article that Senator Barack Obama pledged and promised that he would vote against telecom immunity and then he voted in favor of it. That did not auger well, albeit accurately.

  • http://leisureguy.wordpress.com Leisureguy

    This is why bloody revolutions happen: the course of last resort would certainly be violence, which hurts everyone. Elections were supposed to allow an orderly way to bring about change without violence, but once that mechanism is jammed and will no longer respond, violence is lapping at our heels.

  • http://leisureguy.wordpress.com Leisureguy

    I have the same feeling. We thought we had a mechanism that would enable us to respond to the need for revolutionary change in an orderly way, but that mechanism has been deliberately broken. That is very, very bad.

    Although one must allow that much of this is driven by our deep nature: social animals acting as social animals do, with all sorts of social-driven instincts and responses. Biology is destiny?

  • rleighton27

    I am not part of the hallelujah chorus greeting this article. Some, if not most of it, smacks of the apologia of a professional bureaucrat who suddenly has found a conscience. Also, his claim that President Obama was itching to start a war in Syria, but was only held back from doing so by “overwhelming Congressional skepticism”…as if that wasn’t a daily occurrence to be dealt with from day one of his tenure. I am convinced that it was part of his strategy from the outset…to rattle sabres loudly enough to frighten a bellicose Putin, who knew his own military prowess was hampered by an ill-trained and poorly equipped manpower pool, into making his lapdog Assad stop playing nasty with his population–and it worked. I agree with much of the article’s commentary about the “boys in the back room” who, in fact, have commandeered the running of the country out of the hands of elected officials, but condemn it’s tone of “it really doesn’t matter who’s in charge.” It does matter. Articles of this type just encourage voter apathy, and that plays into the schematic laid out by the Powell Memorandum for the usurping of Democracy, placing it into the hands of the ALEC/Koch consortium of Plutocratic traitors.

  • http://leisureguy.wordpress.com Leisureguy

    This helps me understand why such an intensive effort is underway to destroy our educational system and the low value we seem to place on education. I’m thinking of privatization, charter schools, constant pressure to pay public money to religious schools, defunding of higher education, closures of departments of humanities and non-applied science and art—that sort of thing. And now I get it: the last thing the corporate state wants is people “wasting” time and effort on a bunch of abstract principles and reasoning and critical thinking, especially since it just causes trouble in the workplace and makes people question orders. Better to do away with that: turn the focus to what will make the most money, and your problem’s solved. And then you can cut costs—always the imperative—by closing departments that seem to create the most troublemakers. Two birds, one stone.

  • Bob Baldock

    Peter Dale Scott articulated this first, and has it deeper and darker. Check his website.

  • Meri Perkins

    I expected more from Danielle Brian, her response seemed a bit lame to me..am I missing something?

  • Anonymous

    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

  • Joan Harris

    It’s been awhile since I have had anyone refer to Freud. Never mind the “new age” psychology. Defenses have always been the problem. In a perfect world we would all live consciously and greed and prejudices would give way to peace and harmony. In the meantime we must address all the ills, if for no other reason then to prevent us from becoming complacent. I shall retain a little healthy cynicism until the world is healthy.

  • I. Spoke Umbra

    Let’s be clear about what the “group-think” means when speaking about the NSA:

    As someone who was once in the bowels of the NSA beast, I observed a number of disturbing traits permeate every nook and cranny of the operation. If those traits were applied to an individual, they would be considered a very serious characterological disorder, perhaps warranting hospitalization:

    1. Paranoid
    2. Obsessive compulsive
    3. Sociopathic
    4. Grandiose
    5. Narcissistic (self-rationalizing)
    6. Uber-patriotic (self-justifying)

    The groupthink scenario in that place is as toxic as it can get for a human enterprise. It is a clear and present danger to the security of Democracy as we know it.

  • Pamela Zuppo

    This was no stroke of genius, this was Greenspan, Reagan, and the Bush clan. The better term for contemporary capitalism is “disaster capitalism” as coined by Naomi Klein. The big question is what are we to do about this? Do what Kiev has done? Due to “group think”, or brain-washing of the masses who have lost their own control via their televisions, it seems the zombies outnumber the enlightened. It’s clear to me something must be done.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1515013413 Jim Shannon

    100% accurate and yet no one can see what is right before our eyes!
    Einstein ….”Imagination is more important then knowledge.”
    I keep imagining a world without CentaMillionaire$ and Billionaire$!

  • SufferinSuccotash,Pivoting

    Randolph “War is the Health of the State” Bourne is also worth a read. Not to mention Jack London’s The Iron Heel. These All-American doods had the National Security-Oligarchy State pretty much nailed down a century ago. Why people concerned with our current predicament skip over these Progressive Era radicals in favor of Continental Philosophy (which reminds me of a skimpy breakfast) is beyond me. I’ve been watching the emancipatory elements in this country floundering around for the past four decades now and it’s pretty depressing, especially the seemingly chronic inability to connect with the USA’s radical past. No historical knowledge=no sense of history=no political judgement=the Bad Guys keep on winning.
    Ukrainians are my favorite people at the moment and you can bet that their sense of history is pretty sharp.
    This concludes this Sunday morning rant.

  • Joseph Brant

    It is commendable to preserve hope among reformers, but hopes do not solve problems.

    While security agencies can serve democracy when better regulated, the failure to regulate is the result of failed democratic institutions which have not themselves been “vulnerable to a vigilant public.” The dark state invisible power corrupts invisibly, but gold is the invisible power which had already corrupted the visible institutions.

    We need more than a “self-confident figure” to tell us that “national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas” so that “the people themselves will unravel the Deep State.” The “deep…hunger for change” was deeper in 2008 when so easily destroyed by its self-confident Obama by simply not mentioning what “outworn dogmas” he would change. The hawkish Hillary is not about to “unravel the Deep State” and mere self-confidence will not finance campaigns or buy media support to do more than split the vote of reformers. The media and elections must first be freed of gold, and the people cannot do that without free media and free elections.

    While history is full of surprises, the succession of cold-war fearmongering by global war upon diffuse “terrorist” backlash and political opposition to half-witted right wing imperialism does not suggest a passing reaction, nor that any lesson was learned from three generations of failed military adventures with no relationship to the declared national principles. The cancerous dark state has grown in proportion to the failure of right wing foreign policy, the failure of its own rationales. It is the triumphant institution of right wing tyranny as the immune sovereign over a failed democracy.

    Democracy may make further ultimate progress in China than in the US, or may survive only in micropowers of no interest to the right wing. But we must have faith in the power of the people, or we lose hope and take no action.

  • Barbara Mullin

    I call it vulture capitalism.

  • http://otm-media.com Jeff Markham

    This is beautifully written and quite compelling.

  • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

    The difference with Continental Philosophy on this – and I include this article – is the author here spent a lot of time in denial and rationalization and now sees the “truth.” But his thesis is far more detailed and explained in various authors in the Continental Philosophy catch-all. It’s written by someone who is beginning to understand.

  • james palmer

    Your epic structural solutions would go far to restore government By The People. But how are you going to get the three Divisions of Government (aptly so-named !) to enact a means to their own demise?

  • Robert Kost

    This essay will be cited in future histories as a lucid and pure statement of just where we stand here in the second decade of the 20th century. What will be most controversial is that there is nothing at all controversial in Mr. Lofgren’s summation.

  • jrdel

    Since the People of United States overthrew British ruling class government of our country and after the revolution, through wise government, and luck we got out from under the thumb of any rulers whether clerics, nobility, landlords, businessmen, political dictators, banks, etc. etc. these forces have been working to reestablish their control over our lives and by gradual steps have done so. Great Americans turned back the tide here and there for a while, Jackson ended the national bank, T. Roosevelt broke up monopoly corporations, F. Roosevelt supported efforts for economic democracy, etc.
    but the enemies of liberty never rest and always find new ways to undermine it.
    So every few generations the People are faced with another fight if they are to keep their liberties. This time the odds look particularly bad, Enemies stronger, richer, more devious, more insidious, more corrupt; the People weaker, more divided, confused, distracted. What the hell do we do? Voting just doesn’t do much. Big money floods the media with their point of view. The People, relatively poorer than ever; don’t have enough money to reply.
    Petitions, reforms, protests, revolution? All impractical, or impossible (imagine a revolution in the streets against the power of the U.S. military.) The days when we can grab our muskets and go out and make a revolution have long gone folks.
    I think humanity will have to wait for another age, and another nation to see real liberty and real democracy in control of the world again.

  • SufferinSuccotash,Pivoting

    Given that back in his day “merchants” were often interchangeable with “bankers” Smith certainly scored a bulls-eye with that one. The perfect Horrible Example in the 1770s was the East India Company, which couldn’t govern Bengal without trashing its economy and couldn’t keep off the financial rocks either. Eventually the British government put the Company on a shorter leash and still later the Company lost its monopoly over East Indian trade. But one short-term measure to bail out the Company was to give it a monopoly over selling tea to the dumb colonists over in America. Oops. That was a real “tea party”, not some bogus affair staged by geezers in funny hats.

  • SufferinSuccotash,Pivoting

    Of course. I spent quite a few years rationalizing and pretending that Everything Was Pretty Much OK In These Here United States myself. The problem with being a history teacher–at least in this case–is that the past, which as William Faulkner famously said wasn’t only not dead but not even past, can catch up with you. This country is paying and will continue to pay pretty heavily for decades of folly which anyone with a sense of history could have predicted at least 40 years ago.

  • My 2 Cents

    Mike Lofgren has done a superb job of explaining the current power structure in the U.S. I hope his observations get the attention they deserve.

  • joanne

    We have had millenia to “cage the beast”, tame the beast, train, heal, and/or defang the beast. Predatory behavior is mediated, never extinguished. The Deep State is both institutionalized predation and paradoxically, a grotesque attempt to protect itself from itself.

  • Anonymous

    The last paragraph, especially that last sentence, “Thus disenthralled, the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed” says it all.

    Three-hundred fifty-million modern firearms and one point five trillion rounds of ammunition in the hands of individuals sounds about right, sufficient to dismantle the Deep State with unprecedented speed. Sure beats pitchforks, wooden rakes and cudgels.

    Collateral damage may reach tens or even hundreds of millions but we’ll at least be rid of the vermin. Too bad it also means the latest Dark Ages and in all likelihood, another round of fanatical, fundamentalist religionism, perhaps another thousand years of the twits.

    SPLF

  • http://twilightirruption.blogspot.com/ abbeysbooks

    Well they didn’t read Ayn Rand then.I knew in 1960 and have planned accordingly in many ways so as not to get sucked in.

  • Anonymous

    It wasn’t regulation, rules and laws that created this but rather the failure to apply rigorous and unpreferential enforcement. Had the elite been held to the same requirements as the rest of us, the coming purge would not have been made imminent or necessary. Pavlovian conditioning affects all sentient beings, not just dogs or the poor.
    Beginning with Reagan, the ranks of civil service were filled with pre-screened ideologues who are permanent sleeper-cell saboteurs, a practice perfected in and by the Bush Administration and Rove & Co. (Which would never have existed had the voting machines in certain primarily Democratic Florida precincts not been tampered with in 2000.)

    SPLF

  • Anonymous

    It does [what's left of] my broken heart good to read this, after seeing the televised version of this discussion. If the truth will set you free, we are on our way. My hope is that change can be accomplished without violent revolution while my greatest fear is that we are too late. A missing piece of this discussion is the prison-for-profit piece and its partner, police brutality. Think of the police responses to all demonstrations lately, from tear gas to firing items at demonstrators to beatings. None of these actions were necessary except that the police bureaucracy was protecting its culture with violence. Thank you for so many instances of telling the truth, Mr. Moyers & company.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, the lessons lost when one’s childhood is indentured to elitism.
    Did none of these “Deep Stat[ists]” play “King of the Hill” in their youth? If they had, perhaps they’d have learned “kingship” is sooo transitory and exhaustingly banal.

    SPLF

  • GregoryC

    They are extracting revenue, rent-seeking, from the American people everywhere they can find a revenue stream: public schools, housing, prisons, infrastructure, pipelines, fracking, oil and gas exploration, mountain top removal, Social Security, privatization of health insurance/health care.

  • GregoryC

    Predates Reagan. Read Matt Stoller’s piece on the origins of NAFTA. David Rockefeller, George Ball, were calling for a North America union with Europe, including Mexico later, in Congressional hearings from 1967.

  • GregoryC

    It amazes me that before anyone discusses truths as Mr. Lofgren has discussed, about which he’s written eloquently, those comments must be prefaced by saying one is not a conspiracy theorist. Because the establishment makes us sound crazy for discussing the truth.

  • GregoryC

    Corporate States of America. Replace each star of the flag with a corporate logo.

  • GregoryC

    Agreed. The beginning discussing how Obama ran to the left of Hillary Clinton on the excesses of the GWOT and the erosion of constitutional liberties. But once elected, he governed to the far-right.

  • GregoryC

    The duopoly won’t do anything to get rid of the Deep State, but the American people could mobilize to affect real change. People are rising up against oppression all over the globe. I like those folks in Buenos Aires who stand in the streets and bang pots and pans against each other making noise showing disapproval. Americans are too docile.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for understanding the connection between
    1) this massive concentration of tax money that gilds a few places favored by the “Deep State” like DC, Wall Street and Silicon Valley and
    2) this giant “sucking sound” that we hear here in the Midwest as capital, investment and community life is sucked away from basic industry and out of working-class communities.

    Mr. Lofgren “gets it.” It’s time to tame and leash this “Deep State” and rebuild the creative manufacturing-based core of the U.S. economy and American culture.

  • John Taylor

    Fore the treason will be revealed in the history books , future children will be aware of how elected officials sell their souls to protect lie’s that profoundly hurt people, and make sure they have no part of the American dream.

  • Jason Bonhome

    Only one solution: REVOLUTION

  • Anonymous

    I am not hopeful. You left out the almost total corporate control of the media. We have millions of brainwashed people who believe really crazy things: the world was created 6,000 years ago, climate change is a hoax, the constitution was written by Jesus,socialism is evil, working for peanuts is freedom, unions are bad, owning guns makes you a patriot, it’s legal to kill people with skin that’s a few shades darker than yours. I could go on for a long time listing the delusions and illusions corporate media’s brainwashing has engendered. I think if the people rise up they will do so at the behest of the deep state.

  • Anonymous

    You’re a good example of what I mean when I talk about brainwashing.

  • Anonymous

    Yes. I wonder about the death of Michael Hastings, the journalist who destroyed General McCrystal’s military superstar status. I’m not a conspiracy theorist but my spidey sense has been activated.

  • Edward98

    All I can say, is that I am also not hopeful.

  • lameduckman

    Should the 99%, that includes tea party and the occupy and all the rest, come to the realization that they have been and are being played for fools by a small elite group, there is a chance for democracy to prevail…

    I think you may have misunderstood my post? I am saying that they have been divided, and should they come together they would be much stronger and perhaps more effective.

    I am quite aware of the machinations of government, propaganda and the good cop bad cop routine.

    Hope this clarifies my position a little better.

  • Anonymous

    The ideology is hinted at throughout the article. Capitalism; The premise that money is a form of commodity and the winner is whomever has the most. Unfortunately money is a contract and while such notional promises seemingly can be manufactured to infinity, through the creation of the other side of the ledger, debt, their underlaying value is dependent on the increasingly precarious solvency of those taking on that debt. It is what is referred to in hindsight as a bubble. If you want to see the future of the US in about fifty years, it will likely be in the states and regions.

  • J Timothy

    The US military-intelligence-industrial aparatus is filled with loyal American patriots who love this country and have sworn to uphold the US Constitution.
    Unfortunately, they don’t seem to understand that the system is extremely expensive and is impoverishing the middle class of America. We have nine air craft carrier groups while the next closest military has just two. Air craft carriers are incredibly expensive.

    In my opinion, the next revalation to hit the mainstream media will be that SOME of the covert, clandestine, black budget projects have been financed via securities fraud. They’ve done it before. Arms for hostages, Hmong drug running in Vietnam, etc, are examples of this. Catherine Austin Fitts has also made a great point that HUD, of all agencies, has funded some black budget procurements.

    Clearly, either the CIA or the NSA are at the center of the cabal. So, what is the justification for all of this secracy? What is soooo important that the adult eagle scout christians of America can’t tell us? What could it be? Terrorism? Russians? Soverign citizens? Shoe bombers?

    Here is where i will lose most people over 50 years old. IN MY OPINION, a the core of the military industrial aparatus and its wall street enablers is a desperate race to achieve near technological parity with….(pregnant pause) (dramatic pause) other entities, species, e.t. collectives, etc, who are visiting sol 3 (earth). This effort is extremely expensive and involves spending trillions of dollars covertly to build spacecraft and weapons systems based on both advanced human originated technology and also technology from the reverse engineering of recovered alien vehicles.

    Many people belive that securities fraud funds this effort. It sounds crazy, but, YES, building trillion dollar weapon systems and spaceships is at the core of the secrecy cult. Nothing else makes sense. What else could possibly require siphoning trillions out of the US economy? Many many authors are written on the subject and it is most definitely NOT a joke. Yes, Bill, lets ask the awkward questions.

    Is there a secret space program funded via securities fraud? Have we received help from ET visitors?

    One man who asked the awkward question was Congressman Steve Schiff of New Mexico. He asked the Congressional General Accounting Office to inquire about the alleged Roswell alien craft recovery. He got the USAF to give us a third story – (first was a disc, second a weather baloon and third was project mogul) This all took place in the mid 90′s.

    He was only about 50 yrs old when he caught agressive skin cancer. He resigned from congress and was dead soon after. He was 51.

  • aTomsLife

    I disagree that Mr. Lofren’s article provokes apathy. It sheds light on the duopoly that is the two-party system and encourages voters to seek an alternative, namely a more libertarian, decentralized form of government.

    “Overwhelming Congressional skepticism” to Syria included party-line Democrats as well: Unlike the usual D vs. R bickering, it was D’s and R’s forced to contradict the military industrial complex. It was a powerful moment.

    Syria proved the American people — and perhaps only the American people — are capable of muzzling the Deep State. The only reason we didn’t intervene there was because constituencies throughout the country stood united, not because of potential international condemnation. The irony of Putin’s victory is that he achieved it because he had the backing of the American people. He morphed into our de-facto representative.

    Even for the plutocrats, Putin represented the the lesser of two evils. It would have been a catastrophic loss of face to have to admit that D.C. remains beholden to the American people when, united, we’re unwilling to follow the script.

    Until there’s meaningful campaign finance reform, “it really doesn’t matter who’s in charge.” That’s the simple truth. But it’s a reason to become more engaged in politics, not less.

  • J Timothy

    One of the problems with dealing with the intelligence services is that they have people embeded within the media to get their point of view across. So, when Moyers talks about asking “Awkward Questions” he underestimates how difficult this is.

    Ed Bernays and Walter Lippman were the gentleman geniuses who showed us that marketing and propaganda could be used to manage public opinion without limits.

    Yes, lets ask the awkward questions. What is so important to the military-industrial-complex that it needs to siphon, literally, trillions of dollars out of the US economy?

    One man asked an awkward question. His name was Congressman Steve Schiff. After he asked his question, he died of agressive skin cancer. He was 51 years old. Sure. It cold have been coincidence. But he was the only one asking awkward questions at the time and he was the only one who got agressive skin cancer. Meanwhile, the CIA’s top spooks like George HW Bush and Kissinger are still alive into their 90′s. Go figure.

  • Baron95

    Thousands of words to say what? That the US Government and its related apparatus have become so large that they threaten us all?

    Yes. Duh. When you give the government the power to tax income and incur unlimited debt, the monster will grow and grow and grow.

    There is only one solution to run away government. Starve the beast until you can (if you need to) drown it in a bath tub.

    Instead, we see liberals always insisting on more tax and more programs to make it bigger and bigger.

    Is this essay the way of Liberals to admit that they were wrong all along and that big government IS the problem?

  • Alexandre Dupuy

    Our founding fathers risked everything to create our unique and magnificent country. It looks like a Second Revolution to me: those who refuse to risk it all will not be deserving of the Liberty and Freedom that was the beacon that beckoned patriots to our shores, from everywhere, who rejoiced with the title of “American.”

  • http://daybrown.org Dale H. (Day) Brown

    Mother Nature bats last. When we look at the list of empires crashed because bad weather ruined crops, we see it includes all of them. People will put up with appalling corruption- until they are hungry. The Deep State has not picked up on the risk of unusual weather on agriculture, altho the price of crop insurance rose dramatically. Agribusiness will do fine with govt checks, but people cant eat insurance.

    Part of the problem is that ag policy is set to reduce the cost of the hobby operations of politicians, like Bush’s ranch, but failing to support the backbone of American agriculture, the family farm. The average age of farmers now is over 60, and because of land speculation by friends of elected representatives, the next generation cant afford to buy farms. The result is land owned by absent aristocracy and worked by men whose only interest is their immediate benefit and not the condition of land to be inherited by sons.

    Another of the many reasons we need a Gnu Party not run by lawyers.

  • Anonymous

    So are you actually taking the myopic route of saying that this mess is all the “liberals’” fault? The conservatives had nothing to do with this, huh? Just the liberals…

    ……If that’s what you’re saying, here’s me not buying that rhetoric……

  • Anonymous

    My own father fought in three wars (WW2, Korea, and Vietnam), and I’ve had many relatives and friends that served (and several who have died) in the recent Persian conflicts of the last several decades,…and I totally believe in the price that needs to be paid to maintain our own country’s place outside of the types of grotesque regimes that spawned those wars…

    But in doing so, I don’t believe there’s any value in vilifying experiments our own administrations might make toward aspects of communal or social benefit (often referred to in terms of “communism” and “socialism” by their opponents, despite the fact that such communal and social legislation is about as far from the actual historical and present-day corrupted Communist and Socialist regimes as you can get…).

    Our own social security, our fire departments, our police force, certain aspects of our emergency, ambulance, and hospital services, Medicaid and Medicare…all these are socialized constructs that have benefits that many of us can agree we should have… Pointing at any of these as proof that we live in a Socialist or Communist government that’s about to become a totalitarian dictatorship is somewhat ludicrous when compared to actual, historical data.

    From the purist construct of socialistic ideals (much like with the ideals of a “commune”), can come many useful systems that can both work for the average citizen AND don’t actually have to lead to any form of dictatorship… Communism, as an ideology, DOESN’T have anything to do with setting up dictators…. It’s the flaws of humanity that turn a system, ANY system, with good aspects into something corrupted and deplorable…

    And assuming we do keep an eye on the systems we choose to set up (and those who are in positions of power) it IS possible to maintain peace, unity, and “rule” by the people themselves… However, any group of people larger than 150 will always require some form of governing body,…it’s just the way we’re hardwired (look up “What is the Monkeysphere” for a decent and humorous write-up about this)… And this will, by necessity, place people in charge of other people just to make sure the system doesn’t fall completely apart… And, of course, this flies in the face of the undeniable truth that: A. You can’t please everyone… And B. People don’t like being told what to do.

    What I DON’T believe, and see no real evidence of, is that our own country is somehow rushing headlong down some terrible road that leads to tyrannical despotism… And the reason why I don’t believe this is that we DO have a history of having escaped our own tyrants during the years of our country’s formation… And another reason why is because we as a nation have the power to look back on parts of our OWN history, in shame, because we have played the part of tyrants ourselves when it came to issues like slavery in our country, the injustices visited upon the native Americans who we displaced, degraded, and sometimes butchered, the way we treated Japanese-Americans during WW2, and even our present failure to recognize the kinds of general equalities that should apply to every person in this nation, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, creed, religion (or lack thereof), color, etc…

    We haven’t always handled these things very well,…but at least, as a whole, we often try to recognize what we’ve done wrong, and try to fix them as we can with changes in legislation as the culture of our country changes… Sometimes these changes NEED to fly in the face of “tradition” since traditions by their very nature are rooted in the glorification of an idealized past (which usually never really existed that way except in someone’s fanciful dreams or handed-down tales, and when compared to the actual past often end up being far overblown and riddled by convenient selective memory, which tends to leave out those bits of abuse and injustice we’d rather forget…).

    My point in saying all this is; yes we should continue to hold the reigns of our own government by carefully monitoring the way they do things to insure they maintain the “general public trust”, and uphold our laws and protect our freedoms agreed upon in our Constitution as interpreted by “general societal consent”… NOT as it’s interpreted by an exclusive political party or branch of government… NOT as it’s interpreted by either the specific republican party or specifically by the democratic party… NOT as it’s interpreted by religious zealots or by powerful corporations…. As it’s interpreted by “general public consent” stemming from our legislative system of checks and balances, and driven by the votes of the people… But we shouldn’t do that by tearing at each other’s throats, and we’ll NEVER achieve that by trying to lay the blame on (or hideously disrespecting) any single leader that, by our own system, can only stay in “power” between 4-8 years…

    If we feel our system is starting to fail because our individual votes no longer hold any power, then that’s NOT the fault of any one party, president, or pundit…What this indicates specifically is that demonizing any one political leader is not only meaningless, it’s buying into the whole political sham established by the deep entrenchment of BOTH parties into our collective psyches as something “important and inviolate”, and gladly used by them to not merely maintain the status-quo, but to mutually consolidate the power that BOTH parties wield… It’s the fault of the system as a whole, and it’s been set up to last a LOT longer than any “bad” or “good” president’s term…

    Unfortunately that means any corruption that needs fixing goes far beyond the work and efforts (or supposed corruption) of any one president, whether they are a Democratic darling or a darling of the GOP… We, the people, need to be a bit more far-sighted than we have been…. We need to look beyond the less-significant issues of a single presidency, and figure out what ways our system itself is broken…

    The issue I’m having here is that, playing into the “game” that our flawed system has established (a game that has us tearing at each other’s throats with rhetoric and vitriol DESIGNED to divide,…designed to polarize), merely insures that the status-quo is maintained, and the power of BOTH parties is being mutually consolidated…

    I usually pipe up on a variety of threads when I see that kind of pathetic rhetoric (by either side, mind you) blindly flashed about as if it’s dogma…

    Rhetoric is the most powerful tool of despotic control,…and easy labels of villainy are a sham…

    “Progressives”? Not my word,…but it’s scary how many people decide they need to wave a banner bearing its standard… “Conservatives”? I don’t know,…does it JUST have to be one or the other? Where’s the middle ground?

    I see myself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal…

    I find fault in the polarization caused by the two-party system…

    I see the vitriol espoused in public formats and media to be useless, and the result of adept manipulation by corporate elitists who want to use us like tools, while they feed BOTH sides of the political system from their pockets, and simultaneously paying for legislation that continues to fill those very pockets back up, even in the direst of economic climates…

    If you’re looking for corruption, follow the money… Does the money trail lead into the pockets of many politicians? Yes,….some of it does…. But where does MOST of it go?

    Answer that question, and you’ll find your real culprits… THEN you can pinpoint those sections of the current system that enables and feeds those culprits…and hopefully make the systemic changes that NEED to be made…

    Here’s a hint:…it’s NOT the newest healthcare reform legislation… Here’s another hint:….it’s NOT any of the legislation that Obama has been fought tooth-and-nail on every step of the way during his terms as president… Here’s a final hint:…it’s NOT legislation dealing with abortion, religion in schools, contraception, immigration, gun control, gay marriage, or any of the other popular “hot topics” that we are being encouraged to argue about, and goaded to get enraged by….

    Those are distractions,…and you can tell because that’s not where the money is…

    But what are we being distracted FROM? I can guarantee you that it’s NOT a distraction to keep us from recognizing some slow and insidious slip into a communistic totalitarian dictatorship…. That’s just more of the garbage rhetoric use as a distraction…

    Nope, the only thing we’re being distracted from (with a continuous circus of political and social sleight-of-hand meant to keep us “entertained” and preoccupied for years to come) is the fact that those who continue to profit most from this system, year after year and generation after generation, want this system to at least remain the same for as long as possible, and at best continue to allow them to stockpile the kind of wealth and power they’ve grown accustomed to and comfortable with… And with the highest paid executives in the largest companies making over 370 TIMES what their average employees make in a year (and them passing those profits on to those longer-term pundits and their lackeys who remain in power long before and after our presidents come and go), and with the middle class slowly shrinking away while the poor class grow and the upper class controls more and more of our country’s total wealth,…unfortunately then it looks like they’re getting their wish….

    Their distractions are TOTALLY working…

  • Thomas Milligan

    Can’t blame you for feeling ripped off. You have been. We all have been, except for those in the very top income brackets. Lofgren does a pretty good job of detailing the forces that have perpetrated the heist. I’ve come to call it The Money; it includes the actors Lofgren details, plus billionaire types like the Koch brothers and Richard Mellon Scaife, plus the mainstream media (even much of PBS, unfortunately), which has become the Ministry of Propaganda for The Money. All Is Well. The USA Is Number 1. The Government Is Keeping Us Safe from Terrorism. Buy More Stuff. Whistleblowers Are Traitors. The Economy Is Recovering. Buy More Stuff. If Things Aren’t Getting Better for You It’s Because You’re a Loser. So Buy More Stuff.

    Don’t romanticize the ’50′s too much. The discontent that exploded in the 60′s was just under the surface even then. To the extent that it was “better” then it was because the prosperity of the nation *was* more broadly shared. A single “breadwinner” (usually Dad) could feed a family, with enough left over to save for old age, and Mom was available to nurture the kids. Do you know *any* families for whom that could be true today? And the mainstream media was populated by actual journalists rather than mouthpieces for The Money who look good in suits and understand what their owners want said. Bill Moyers, obviously, is an exception to this rule. One of the few.

    I’m surprised you’re not angry. You have every reason to be.

  • Thomas Milligan

    Mr. Lofgren does a pretty good job of detailing the forces that have perpetrated the sad parody of self-government into which our nation has devolved, but he left out a couple. I’ve come to calling the whole thing “The Money.” It includes the actors Lofgren details, plus billionaire types like Scaife and the Koch brothers, plus the mainstream media (even much of PBS, unfortunately), which has become the Ministry of Propaganda for The Money and the so-called “Washington Consensus.” Where once we had journalists, now we have (with the almost-sole exception of Bill Moyers) pretty people who look good in suits and like to be on TV, reading the scripts they’re given.

  • Anonymous

    CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM, how many times do I need to say it!

  • Anonymous

    Well, that’s rather a ‘rose colored glasses’ view of the Tea Party given their current platform position. While I agree there are some redeeming qualities – not because I deem them to be but because they do contribute to the discussion – But, by-n-large the solutions offered by the Tea Party platform will only serve to weaken any hopes of salvaging the Democracy. One such example is this meme that ‘all Govt. is bad’ which only someone disingenuous would suggest does not prominently inhabit the TP. Another would be the position on so called ‘entitlements’. Yet another would be the Tea Party backing of the likes of Ted Cruz or Rand Paul who adopt a position on health care that is antithetical toward a robust Democracy. (And spare me the notion that private enterprise provides better health care etc. – it’s simply untrue and there’s no evidence to support these fictions.).

    One has to examine a few things about the Tea Party – It is quite clear why individuals such as the Koch brothers have gone to great lengths to fund the Tea Party because it is the entrenched Plutocrats and Corporate elite who benefit the most from a weakened Govt. Many TP members see their quality of life eroding and have chosen to go after the wrong entity why? Well, those reasons are numerous – for some it is fear, for others racism, others an inability to grasp the weight of their decisions, etc. and Irrespective of their reasons the actions of the party, quite ironically, will only strengthen the grasp of the very problems you wish to suggest they will address. While a nice sentiment to feel the Tea Party could work with others the reality is much different.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, how do you create such a canvas of revisionist history? I also found it quite tragic that you espouse ‘we need to stop this R vs L’ dichotomy but you make every effort to assault the left – exclusively. While that would be with merit if it were true (indeed both parties have played a role in where we now sit) it becomes quite another matter when viewed against, oh idk, the backdrop of reality. A.) Historically it is regulation that keeps corporate interests in check and deregulation promotes the ‘crony capitalism’ you mention. It’s hysterical to assume the inverse. B.) Progressive policies have, again in reality, led to the greatest moments of growth and prosperity in this country. I”m sorry you don’t believe those facts. And, why didn’t you mention the inequality gap on steroids since Reagan? or the Bush tax cuts that benefitted the richest Americans? Or the subsidization of big pharma. and big oil? Both parties have no interest in representing people without money and every incentive not to. But, don’t prattle on this nonsense about the dangers of progressivism. it’s ill-thought and smells of ideological belief hungering to trump facts and history; it smells.

  • Anonymous

    It is quite disheartening and the road forward most uncertain. I’m fairly confident those you allude to will not act from a position of reason and evidence that is fact based. I cannot, for the life of me, imagine circumstances in which those guided by fantasy, belief, and hate (one or all) will shift ideological positions and address the problems that inhabit this country by the corporate state. Individuals like Ted Cruz, Jamie Dimon (more subtly), the Koch brothers are gifted in their cunning ability to take advantage of these, what Thom Hartmann calls ‘low information voters’ – I’ve little reason for optimism and plenty of evidence for pessimism without hope.

  • Anonymous

    After reading this all I can say God help us. I think I can speak for millions of Americans who grew up in a different country. We use to believe that hard work, play by the rules and everything would work out for the Middleclass American. All could share in the American dream. Those beliefs are not what I hear anymore. Apathy and fear are rampant..I fear for the country my children with inherit.

  • Herb

    Where there is no vision the people ????

  • Kibik

    Yup. That’s it. (sorry)

  • fenway67

    yeah, i don’t think that is his main point. it’s the corporations and the banks that have infiltrated and that is the fault of both sides of the aisle. The author notes that the bipartisan divide is mostly noise obscuring the bigger picture.

  • fenway67

    i am hopeful that firstlook.org will be a source of honest journalism. Scahill, Poitras, Greenwald and Taibbi are real journalists working toward finding the truth.

  • Anonymous

    Wars forced us into debt slavery to the Big banks that financed them, thus we are slaved to the NWO BANKS and corporations Federal Reserve Banks buys and owns most of our debt, they are international now We are controlled by the bankers and the secret NWO financial network running the governments of the world. Everything trickles down from these taskmasters. Follow the money and everything is controlled by where it leads. Globalization, one financial system running the world into their vision of one world government controlled by their big money. They been ruling us for a long time now. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM would fix us election process and would scare them knowing they can’t put their bag men in office anymore.

  • Anonymous

    So you believe the blame for big government lies only with the liberals? Give me a break.
    Here are just four Presidents who expanded Government. They are named Nixon, Ford, Reagan, and Bush. Flaming liberals to you I would assume.

  • John Gregor

    Looking forward to odering some of those books. Have read all Foucault’s books. The author wrote quite a nice essay about contemporay American politics. Our majot export seems to be Dollars, like manure they have some value, but I imagine alot of the people who are getting them are not entirely happy

  • Anonymous

    I saw Mike on c-span Sunday and enjoyed his comments, and now reading this piece I have trouble with a GOP former congressional analysis troubled about how the govt is working or not working beginning in 2009.

    As with many of former GOP legislators or analysts never do they dig deeper into the underlying problems that cause the congress to not work. Mentioning the Deep State reminds me of Washington Post investigation exposing the 2nd govt in DC. It’s where all the retired legislators or lost elections legislators, the congressional staff, the retired military generals go. They pop up in media (tv, radio, newspapers) spewing out a talking point for their respective 2nd govt think tank in DC. C-span is a major platform that they use, and 99% of them promote some corporation dealing with the 1st govt.

    Too bad we don’t see the name tags of the corporations they represent. Now that we have citizens united we’re back into the age of the Robber Barons.

  • WeNeedaDream

    :-)

  • Rob Lipton

    Great discussion, but a more accurate term for “deep state” is fascism, the close collaboration of wealth and government, the destruction of trade unions and the middle class, it’s, unfortunately, classic

  • Anonymous

    That was a painful read. The nationalization of finance is “privatization” and “deregulation”? FDR not a revolutionary? Government financing of political campaigns is “necessary, but not sufficient”?

    If it wasn’t so consistent it would be ridiculous. Get this straight, Lofgren: There is no difference between Marxism and this “Washington Consensus”. Have you never read the Communist Manifesto? Go through the planks, one by one, and tell me how the US Fed.Gov hasn’t enacted them all.

    The Empire of the United States is a Marxist system. That’s why it’s failing.

  • Anonymous

    We the people was a lovely idea. Too bad it turned out to be a pipe-dream.

  • Anonymous

    Well, there certainly is disturbing similarity between the US and the PRC; they plan their economy while we “fine tune” ours through the machinations of the Fed controlling the supply of money (and therefore, ultimately, its value) in circulation.
    If the flip-side of democracy is free-market economics something here has gone way out of kilter.
    Call it Communism…call it corporatism, Mussolini-style fascism, the effect is the same: the disenfranchisement and ultimate enslavement of the citizenry.

  • Anonymous

    How in the world does this author write such a long essay about the “Deep State” without mentioning Peter Dale Scott, the man most responsible for introducing the concept and the term to English speaking audiences? This is a shameful and cowardly omission.

  • http://annienomad.com/ Sharee Anne Gorman

    !!Wow!! (jaw drop)…I consider this essay on par with the “Pentagon Papers” as regards U.S. policy (domestic and foreign/militaristic and financial)!
    !! Wow !!
    First, Occupy Wall Street points out the economic inequality suffered by the 99%.
    Now, this…I think the other shoe just dropped.

  • Anonymous

    We’re hardwired for failure; there is no avoiding it. The larger the civilization, the larger the fall. This time it would seem that we have destroyed much of the planet too.

  • Julie Castle

    Yup, we are all constituents of the biggest cult in the world!

  • Anonymous

    You clearly do not understand socialism or Marxism. Otherwise you would understand that the U.S. is neither and by a long shot. Learn something before you speak and shove your foot in your mouth.

  • Anonymous

    And you have never READ Marx.

    I recommend doing so before chiding others.

  • Antonio Germano

    What filibustering? The Republicans don’t have the votes.

  • Anonymous

    You now why we are in the position we are in? Because we elect our representatives like producers cast reality TV shows. Left and right send true believers to the hill to fight and squabble in political theater. Enough! We need to send grownups to congress not progressives not libertarians not conservative not ideologues of any sort! ideologues are beholden to their causes not their constituencies.

  • Anonymous

    I certainly have read Karl Marx’ Communist Manifesto and I can assure you that you and I have apparently got a completely different set of reading comprehension skills.

  • Latuf Tak

    Not sure whether to grin, for having an inkling, or cry – as my worst fears are now validated. Wonderful essay.

  • Anonymous

    Which means you would have to send a zombie. It seems to me it isn’t the politicians we need to work on, but ourselves. We need to stop the drive of theocracy. Slave owners had no compassion and the middle and lower classes in America are becoming slaves stuck in day-to-day existence, afraid to leave a job or refuse to risk change because we have to feed families. Don’t let a television station or a clever talk show or politician decide for you but spend time on each candidate, google every article from a reputable source, forget the hate blogs, and if you vote and find out you’ve made a mistake, start the letters, change your vote, even change your party, but listen to what they say about themselves harder than you listen to how they slander, rant and lie about someone else.

  • Anonymous

    This republican congress has filibustered tenfold over any congress in the past and have kept this government gridlocked with more vacancies open than filled. The democrats had a filibuster-proof majority for exactly 72 days after this president took office in 2009. The only change has been the nuclear option change because a super majority was required in the senate before that — stupid idea to begin with, with many major agencies left without a leader, to say nothing of other hundreds of appointees. It should always be majority rule. So should electing a president. The world has changed since 1776 and the constitution needs to change with it — that’s why amendments were allowed.

  • Federalist45

    How can the author and mthomas68 discuss any part of Big Media as anything but a part of the Deep State. The Washington Post? NYT? WSJ? NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox? New Yorker, NR, TWS? All part of the Goebbels-like arm known as the Deep State propaganda machine. You cite the Post as if it were not part of this cabal?

  • Federalist45

    Since Lincoln, the Statists have chipped away at liberty and property, and the glowing victories of WW, FDR, LBJ, RMN, the Bush Clan, and BHO have brought us into what you call “debt slavery.” Wars were but a part of it. Add to it the evil welfare state designed to enslave millions in the underclass for eternity, worshipping their keepers in government. Add to it the Wall Street whores who are bailed out of every predicament of their own making, such that they really have no risk (since the taxpayer always pays off their risks). Add to it corporate welfare and bailouts, again paid for by the taxpayer. The common theme here is that the ENTIRE THING is designed to destroy the only barrier–the American middle class–standing in the way of the pure, global state.

  • Federalist45

    W? A mere puppet. BHO? A mere puppet. The power is where the money is. And I am not talking about small millions. I am talking about big millions.

  • Federalist45

    The terminology is all wrong, folks. The terminology is Statist vs. Libertarian. The Statists have controlled government in the nation since powerful rebelled against the Articles of Confederation and sold the Constitution with lies and deceit. The absolute worst criminals in our history were Hamilton, Lincoln, TR, Wilson, FDR, LBJ, RMN, both Bushes, and BHO. Call them Republican or Democrat. Call them Liberal or Conservative. The bottom line is that each of them advanced the interests of the State over the interests of the people, adding power to Leviathan while destroying individual liberty and private property.

  • Federalist45

    Seriously? Capitalism? As if this nation had a capitalist bone in its anti-free enterprise body. The entire history of the U.S. has been about crushing liberty, private property, and free enterprise to expand the state to benefit the puppet masters. Capitalism was never even tried.

  • Federalist45

    You write this and your “avatar” is THAT, one of the great lies of our time?

  • Federalist45

    This article and this discussion board is a weird mix of misunderstanding and lies and deceit, but there is also much truth here. The Tea Party? As flawed as it is, it may be the only thing standing between liberty, such as it is, and pure, unchecked tyranny. All the author and posters have to do is look at who is being targeted by the Statists/Fascists in charge–the Tea Party, those who seek integrity in the law and in elections, those who try to expose the lies and deceit of the administration and congressional whores, those who defy the Big Media lapdogs. . . In nearly every instance, those are the people–the targets– who are on the right side of this fight. I would advise the author and other posters to get on board the side of liberty and private property and fight those who would destroy both. I find it terribly odd that there is so much confusion about this obvious reality.

  • Matt P.

    Hi Thomas,

    Thank you for the considerate response. However it seems you’ve missed my point. It is not that I’m not angry. It is that in this current climate of rampant anger we can’t afford to have another person express anger. No more than I want my children exposed to global warming, do I want them exposed to hatred.

    My other point is that people who feel the way I do are being overlooked. Take for example that your posting has replaced my original on this page. I guess my thoughts just weren’t considered important enough.

  • Anonymous

    Send a zombie? No! Send people that understand that ideology is not an answer, just a viewpoint. People that understand this would be the opposite of zombies; they would be independent thinkers unlike the ideological zombies that just parrot their beliefs

  • Anonymous

    You equate capitalism with an open market. I suggest you study Andrew Jackson’s thoughts on national banks to appreciate the difference.

  • Anonymous

    “you and I have apparently got a completely different set of reading comprehension skills”

    In that, we have complete agreement.

    Anarchy. It could not possibly be worse.

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  • Andrew Kloak

    This insightful essay shows that Silicon Valley is not be what it claims to be. Neither is Wall Street or the massive build-up of federal government power around Washington, D.C.

    The article also alludes to the notion that these companies in Silicon Valley are waking and trying to resist Deep State regime. California can’t save American society. We are only 12% of the entire population. Plus, they don’t want to, they have to answer to shareholders. Profit is the highest good for companies and government. They want influence and money.

    All this is like marionette theatre. James Clapper from the NSA used misdirection when reporters started to zero-in on the scale of the deception and breach of trust last Fall. Enormous change is just ahead but not without enormous turmoil. People intuitively know that national security and corporate power are worn out dogmas.

    There is an urgency to all this. Many of these people in these positions of power have no soul. It doesn’t have to be this way, it just is. I think they want it this bad because they profit and garner influence when it is this ineffectual.

    The biggest changes are within anyway. We have to go deeper in ourselves. That shift in consciousness is already underway. The confluence of forces will sweep away these external constructs. The hidden factors not discussed in the article are the unconscious forces (emotion). Once people are more aware of the light and darkness in themselves things will open up. There is dynamic tension (a good thing) in each person. Self-awareness, integrity and connection to others will change everything.

    This article makes interesting connections to something that is hidden in
    plain sight. It will change.

  • richard anderson

    I have been giving the political system another chance since Vietnam. Each time we have an election I hear some good things. But when these people are in office they change. When Ralph Nader ran for office he was kept out by various means and not allowed to debate. The system is rigged. This talk of voting for the right person is not going to cut it. With the problems this deep and the protection that has been set up to keep this system in place there is NOT a way to change it. In other words voting will not work. Something more is needed. Demonstrations don’t work either. Just look at how long the Vietnam war was protested and when Bush stumped for invasion of Iraq. They didn’t care. Resistance may be the answer.

  • Anonymous

    Rothschild family made their banking trillions beginning from financing Napoleon’s wars up until now. Their family owns media houses, governments, etc and their influence knows no bounds. You will never see their family listed on Forbes richest people lists because they own the media and do not want to see their names or advertise their wealth. The Bankers truly own the world and War debt was the fastest way to do it.

  • Anonymous

    I think the Free State Project is a good start.

  • Anonymous

    lol. good comment and link.

    I will be interested in seeing what First Look does, but I really don’t trust the bazillionaire who is starting it up – or at least his motives. Once a plutocrat, always a plutocrat. I predict it will start like Arianna Huffington’s HuffPo, initially game changing and valuable, then slowly just another click generating tabloid profit machine with a bubble like mentality forced on contributers, moderators and commentors alike. Time will tell.

  • Ellie

    We have all this information, but nothing ever comes of it! No one goes to jail The laws are changed to help the criminals . We still have a two party system which is a joke. Unless people are hungry and cold and willing to die for a cause nothing is going to change in this country.

  • J.G. Sandom

    We have become almost as much a plutocracy as our former Cold War nemesis, Russia. Tech, Big Oil and Wall Street oligarchs, combined with the military-industrial complex (which Eisenhower tried to warn us against) collude (in spirit, if not in actual boardrooms) to keep the people’s power in check via libertarian deregulation, union-busting, Citizens United (and other activist SCOTUS rulings), privatization of the Intelligence Community (IC), the opiate of digital media that pushes the idolatry of money & all things celebrity to distract us, and our collective fear of terrorism (hence our perpetual war footing). This is what my forthcoming novel, 404, is all about—not just how IP tech is invading our lives, but how this invasion is a metaphor for the larger invasion. (HAL2, in my book, IS what Mike Lofgren calls the Deep State.) Wake up, America! Our country is being stolen from us in plain sight. Thank you Bill Moyers, and thank you Mike Lofgren for helping to alert the American public. You are 21st century Paul Reveres! Al Qaeda is less of a threat to America because of some future possible terrorist threat, and more because the collective American fear it engenders helps the Deep State sink its claws more effectively into our national flesh.

  • Anonymous

    What rings clear is we now have a non-elected government operating outside our constitutional government and is purposely gridlocked. Our government and judicial system have been hijacked and steps must be taken to remove Big Hidden money that is controlling our constitutional government. Great interview Bill, thanks as always!

  • Jack Wolf

    Mike forgot something. There is a simple fact that rules the deep state, the reformists, and the declinests, whether they accept it or not: Natural Law. Abrupt climate change can not be controlled now. To suggest that any of these groups are in control or have the ability to make substantial change belies what is really going on. From now on, all these groups can only react and as far as I can tell, today will be the best day of the rest of our lives. It’s all downhill from here and there is irreversible.

  • Thomas Milligan

    Oh, I know about those guys and I love what they do. The trouble is, somehow *their* work doesn’t, as a rule, get picked up, amplified and developed in the mass media the way, say “Watergate” was back when we had real journalists. Meanwhile every load of BS that comes out of the Heritage Foundation, Cato et. al. somehow becomes received wisdom. I’m also a bit concerned that by going off on their own they’re setting themselves up to be marginalized and ignored. Trees may fall, but very few people will hear them.

  • Thomas Milligan

    Somehow your response above… to *my* response… to your original post… got posted under a *separate* post I offered… scroll down far enough, you’ll find your original post & my response.

    Can’t blame you for wanting to shield your children. The thing is, you can’t, neither from the anger nor from global climate change. I have grandchildren and grieve when I look at them for the world they’re apparently going to inhabit.

    One last thing: it’s possible… theoretically at least… to have anger without hatred. Anger at what’s been done can be a spur to action… and effective action could be taken while still treating the perpetrators with the compassion we know all sentient beings deserve. I’m not sure *I* could manage it because truth to tell I’m not a very good Christian… or Buddhist either… but it’s at least theoretically possible.

  • Thomas Milligan

    Good point about our old nemesis, The Evil Empire.

    I always found it ironic that as the Soviet Union was collapsing, the United States was moving toward one-party rule. You can write the Nov. 5 headline right now: “Republocrats Win Yet Again!”

  • Anonymous

    Maybe you should enlighten us rather than call out the author.

  • fenway67

    Agreed, the MSM has a vested interest in having their product on the shelf at eye-level and it’s hard for the little guy to buy space in this market. I’ll be doing my part by re-posting and tweeting important stories that they cover and I just hope the quality will get them noticed. I’m sure the smear campaign against them will begin soon.

  • fenway67

    I wasn’t aware of his motives beyond providing a platform for real journalists. What have you heard? I am hopeful that the high quality work of the people he has hired so far will keep it in the same company as the Moyers people.

  • Kenneth Killiany

    This is an issue that concerns me greatly actually. Both sides have adopted policies that have fed it. I find it interesting that you mention Allen Drury, who was my uncle. Al was a dogged reporter, uncovering, in his day, the Manhattan Project, which he did not report on because of World War II. Should he have? He never doubted his judgment. However, he was very concerned about how the State just grew and operated on its won. You can see mentions of it in ADVISE AND CONSENT and MARK COFFIN, where he discusses the whole public-private daisy chain and how irresponsible it is. It’s true, you can’t get drama out of it, but he mentions it, but in PENTAGON, he wrote a whole book about a bureaucracy can be diverted from what it is meant to do by concerns for its own prerogatives. A&C and MARK COFFIN have just been re-released, and PENTAGON will follow next year. This kind of reporting in your article is the kind he admired and it is a great service.

  • Charles Shaver

    Thanks for the links. Kindred spirits, perhaps, but a little outside of my here and now reality. So, go ahead and dream big but don’t forget to put the garbage out.

  • freelance-writer

    A.k.a.:Ukraine 2014. Though there are many factors and stake-holders at work in the Ukraine issue, it behooves the citizenry of all western nations tainted by the same `deep-state’ tyranny to bear witness. It will take bricks against bullets to resolve this global crisis once and for ever.

  • Anonymous

    in his book “Democracy Inc”, Sheldon Wolin described this system as “Inverted Totalitarianism”. It’s a great read.

  • Anonymous

    So, is it time for a Jubilee? Zero out all debts just like in the olden days. Granted, it *might* destroy some of those Banks, but it might be what is fair.

  • Mecca Wrecka

    if you do, they’ll threaten and outlaw suppliers of your chosen products, teach your children against your choices, and if all that doesn’t work, re-locate you to a cubicle in the city until the internment camps are ready to receive you when they’ve finally milked you for everything.

  • Mecca Wrecka

    what is hate speech? would that include responses worded appropriate to their plans – past, present, and future – to kill us after raping away our rights and monies?

  • Anonymous

    I feel nothing for Loan Sharks of any kind and they get what they deserve.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t think there is any country that doesn’t have a non-elected government and businesses operating outside their own. IMO that is just cheating and bad for all.

  • Mary Brown

    The only terrorists we have to face in the USA are our own government and the ones that government is purposely importing to continue their reign of fear. Problem is a large part of America is now well armed and a terrorist would die rather quickly long before any government police forces arrives.

  • Len

    Most of us frogs are in a pot of water that is getting hotter and hotter and we don’t feel it. As quoted from this essay “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”. Replace “a functionary of the state” with “we the people”.

    This essay was terrific.

  • Anonymous

    I am worried that the boiling pot will lead to the elimination of Social Security. For years now politicians been saying it will end to each generation. When it does, a very high percentage of Americans will be at poverty level. I don’t want to be living in American cities when that happens, crime and robberies will be common place.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, this is not a new development… The funny thing is that Bill Moyers’ Iran-Contra era expose entitled “The Secret Government” actually covers this subject better than the piece we are commenting on. And iirc, he interviews Peter Dale Scott about the CIA in that report…

  • Anonymous

    There is a world of difference between bailouts and nationalization. I cannot begin to quantify the folly of calling this system “Marxist” when the party on the left of the two party system has moved so far to the right as to make Eisenhower seem like Trotsky by comparison.

  • Anonymous

    For Gods sake, not this again. What Banking family who made the bulk of their fortune from War debt and being worth $500 Trillion dollars are you referring to? Everybody is afraid to print anything on these influential banking members. Their influence in this world has no bounds. As we all know Bankers always protect their money and are devising new ways to make more money. If you naively think that Bankers in this world are Godly benevolent people, you better look around the state of the world again and formulate a revised opinion. but there you go, I got my opinion and you have yours and we will respectfully leave it as that. Thanks for your comment!

  • Anonymous

    Last time I looked capitalism is buying and bought our election process. In fact, in the past the main focus of our government has been on business priorities and concerns. Doesn’t look anything as Marxism to me.

  • Jimmy Solomon

    I read this article and watched your interview. Both are most enlightened. What happened, however, on the eleventh day of the ninth month thirteen years ago was clearly a result of this deep state and it is too bad you won’t recognize this glaring example of the corruption of which you write.

  • Anonymous

    I am talking about anything to stop the legalized bribery in our country. If first you don’t succeed, try harder!

  • Anonymous

    “the party on the left of the two party system”

    There is little or no difference between the two faces of the party of state power. They use different words, and then enact the same policies.

    Politics is about power, nothing more. There is no “left” or “right”, only power.

  • Antonio Germano

    Again, what filibusters? You have provided no examples. Except for the (unfortunately) pathetic attempts of Cruz, Paul and Lee to derail Obamacare and the recent debt ceiling/government shutdown (I wish) affair, where has there been any effective Republican opposition to any of Obama’s agenda?
    You are typical of the person who blames one side for our problems, when it’s both sides (i.e., the government) that is the problem. Both sides are playing their respective constituencies like a Stradivarius. get over your obsession with partisanship and see the real issue – the whole system is corrupt and needs to be abolished.
    Your pining for ‘majority rules’ is a recipe for tyranny. The filibuster rules were put into place to prevent temporary majorities from steam-rolling temporary minorities. I think it should be even harder to pass laws, not easier, so mischief is avoided.
    I repeat – the State is the enemy of us all. get over blaming one side or the other. You are being played.

  • Anonymous

    amazing that such a powerful article was written. too bad its several years too late, and ever so slightly off the mark. you need to let go of the rhetoric of bipartisanship. the DNC and GOP establishments are both operating on the same basic policies. while they offer crumbs to their bases, they are both pushing the agenda of the deep state.they are both to blame, and until people declare that both have no clothes, the powers behind the curtain will continue to rule.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks, well said.

    There’s also the “Shallow State” of American campaign consultants like David Axelrod and Mark Penn who make big money in places like Ukraine and Georgia because the locals assume they wield influence over their clients in Washington. If American foreign policy became less aggressive, foreigners wouldn’t pay them so much money:

    http://isteve.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-shallow-state.html

  • Hartbreaker

    As soon as you claimed that the Republicans are just trying to obstruct, you lost credibility. Then you claim voter verification is voter suppression and show yourself to be an out and out liar! I could not read past that.

  • Auntie Analogue

    “F]inancialization, outsourcing, privatization, deregulation and the commodifying of labor.”
    Yes, “commodifying of labor” thanks to Teddyquiddick pushing the 1965 Hart-Cellers act that began the importation of million Third World unskilled laborers per year, thanks also to the Deep State paralyzing all efforts of us, the People, to force our so-called “representatives” to close, fortify, and defend our borders – to stop the massive flow of scores of millions of illegal immigrants. Immigration has done more to stagnate and reduce Americans’ wages and to destroy what had been our historically unprecedented middle class affluence and economic-political power.
    Objective One for those of us who would dismantle the Deep State and restore our democracy is obvious: Stop All Immigration. Accomplish this by these measures: one, end birthright citizenship (and thus also end birth tourism); two, abolish State Department power to import refugees and government funding of NGO’s that “resettle” refugees; deport all illegal aliens; impose massive, draconian fines on employers that hire illegal alien labor. Why are these measures Objective One? Simple: when we allow our Dear Rulers to displace and dispossess us on our own soil, we forfeit – we surrender – our power to control our representatives and their appointees and their wealth transfer from ourselves to foreigners.

  • Mil

    This is just a small list. But it at least provides some of the examples you are asking to see.

    http://www.sanders.senate.gov/newsroom/recent-business/bills-blocked-by-republican-filibusters

  • rgrisham

    This is not a revelation. Noam Chomsky has been pointing this out clearly for the past 40 years… There a couple public documents that might help explain to the educated class exactly what has been going in the U.S. for the past 40 years… The Powell Memo written by Lewis Powell in 71 and the Crisis of Democracy a document publicly published by the Trilateral Commission in the mid 70′s these are both damning omissions by powerful groups that control both the business world and governments at all levels of governance. These two documents that we know about are internal look at the dogma of the ruling class.. Neo Liberalism is the term they used but it sure aint new and it sure aint liberal. It just another way for the ruling class to re-institute Feudalism.

  • Antonio Germano

    I consider the source, frankly. Besides, this ‘list’ is not about actual filibusters. When the Republicans, who I despise as much, or more, than the Democrats, ever follow through on a threat, let me know. The headings says that the bills would have passed the Senate if the Repubs didn’t insist on a 60-vote majority. Maybe, maybe not.

    Another thing – why list vote totals if the bills were filibustered? And, there probably is a different reason why these bills didn’t pass the Senate, if that is the case, than what Mr. Sanders is implying.

    Look deeper, my friend…

  • Dan Pelland

    Being a simple man, of little education and less wealth, I’ve often tried to put into words my understanding of what constitutes wealth. Thank you Mr. Lofgren for saying it so well for me; “…Industry is the only true source of wealth.”

  • Kim Bonsteel

    Here’s an off-the-cuff question. Capitalist forces lobbying with corporate mega-money against democratization of the workplace, social programs, or anything else egalitarian—Will that begin to be partially offset by opposing lobbying efforts funded by legal marijuana money?

  • Carey J

    This article totally ignores the recent abuses by the IRS. Is it not part of the Deep State?

  • Jason Hops

    ASIA FOR THE ASIANS, AFRICA FOR THE AFRICANS, WHITE COUNTRIES FOR EVERYBODY!

    The words “immigration”, “tolerance” and “assimilation” are being used to PROMOTE a program of geNOcide against White children.
    -
    According to International Law, open borders, FORCED integration, and assimilation is GENOCIDE.

    Except they don’t call it GENOCIDE when it’s done to White children.

    Then they call it “multiculturalism”

    STOP WHITE GENOCIDE!

    Anti-racist is a codeword for anti-White

  • Anonymous

    There were no “abuses by the IRS”. The investigations and audits were into organizations claiming to be religious when they were, and are, pushing a political agenda. An organization cannot claim tax exemption as a charitable organization in order to launder money for its partisan political purpose. In this regard, the IRS backed down too quickly as the Obama has done in every instance. It is not only against the law, but it is apostasy on the part of those organizations’ leaders. They are misleading their followers who are expecting faith and are instead getting used.

  • Anonymous

    Money does not buy happiness. Wealth can mean a lot of things. I value spiritual wealth over monetary wealth and that is where my true joy and happiness is found and nurtured.

  • Brian Kern

    You do know being white has to do with the latitude your ancestors lived at, right? So don’t you worry your bigoted little head, white people will always exist as long as humans live in the mid-latitudes and towards the poles. Hope that helps you sleep at night.

  • Anonymous

    If Congress was all about taxes and oversight, there would not be the inducement to become special interests by embezzlement, diverting of benefits, etc. When Congress becomes the unlimited ATM machine that most want to control, struggle over securing the lever is bound to occur. A barrier between the hand and Congressional duties would solve a host of problems, and reduce the conflict, automatically.

  • Avi Marranazo

    This story only corroborates my suspicion that at the state level–”where the rubber meets the road”–the only answer is localism. Localism must be promoted and reinforced by movements and organizations like the Tenth Amendment Center. Nullification and secession are the only way to regain democracy.

  • Anonymous

    No.

  • Anonymous

    This insightful essay defined clearly what I long suspected to be true. I studied government in college but couldn’t quite recognize the phenomenon. I have been inspired to watch the four DVD set on the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire by the History Channel, and I have ordered the 6 volume set of the History of the [same] by Gibbon to read at my leisure. “plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose”

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know, but if the Deep Throat people really wanted to keep the people from dusting off the guillotines, they would legalize marijuana and dispense it for free.

  • Anonymous

    A more basic principle is that all societies are based first and foremost on agriculture. If you can’t eat, you won’t do anything. In the broadest sense of the word “industry” agriculture is industry, i.e. hard work.

  • Anonymous

    “Money is a defense, and wisdom is a defense. The excellence of knowledge is that it gives life to those who have it.”

  • Anonymous

    What you say is essentially true. Fascism by definition is the merger of corporations and the military. Another amusing quote: “A capitalist will sell you the rope you hang him with.” Vladimir Ilyich Lenin

    These Deep State proponents will succeed in fully displaying their stupidity when the global environment collapses under the weight and consequence of their actions and humanity becomes extinct. In the meantime, they will be having fun and braying like jackasses as they descend into the abyss.

  • Anonymous

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  • Carey J

    Funny how liberal groups pushing political agendas got approved with little scrutiny. There was definitely a bias toward investigating Tea Party or “conservative” groups.

  • Anonymous

    What about the level of organization required to create the Trilateral Commission and its formal takeover of the US executive branch when Carter took office? The majority of the cabinet (all but one) were Trilateralists in the newly created group of only 300 worldwide members. Trilateralists were placed in high level international corporate and political positions and this paradigm holds today. Scholars Antony Sutton and Patrick Wood wrote extensively on this international power dynamic with its influence now extending to every part of the globe. It was Trilateralist Larry Summers, former US Secretary of Treasury and Goldman Sachs executive, who was sent to Russia when it’s economy imploded to advise Putin on how to privatize the Russian peoples’ state owned assets leading the to rise of eight powerful oligarchs with internationalist sensibilities, a very deliberate centralization of capital and a means to control Russian political power players. From the beginning of the transfer of the US manufacturing sector to China, it became Brzezinski’s model Technocracy, Brzezinski being the a founder of the Trilateralists, Carter’s National Security Adviser, and author of The Grand Chessboard. (reference: Patrick Wood’s augustforecast.com) These actions and the concomitant level of organization goes beyond the Deep State model.

  • Anonymous

    The simple fact is that there were far more 501(c)4 applications from the far right than from the left. If there was “bias” it was because of the sheer numbers.

  • Darrell

    Because the leftist groups were already well established and didn’t need to submit new applications for 501(c)4 status.

  • Anonymous

    .. if there were no abuses by the IRS, then why did IRS official Lois Lerner plead the fifth ? If my boss asked me to explain possible abuses of power at my job and I pleaded the fifth, my new office would be on the curb.

  • Anonymous

    The meetings happen in Rancho Mirage and other places for Koch Brothers, and ALEC, etc. They are the ones paying the Pols and they definitely meet and plan conspiracies to disenfranchise voters. And, William Pepper wrote a book that reveals the conspiracies within those security agencies that control pols. It is great the Lofgren is talking about the Deep State. But, to deny the conspiracies within it is naive. The crashing of the Obama garden party by Robert Gates associates is a case in point. The Supreme Court ultimately is the last point of call to stop this Deep State within all the branches. They have judicial oversight, and they are not using it.

  • scratphd

    The great swamp philosopher Pogo got it right. “I have meet the enemy and he is us.”
    A complacent America.

  • Christanne

    Lofgren: 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.

    This essay echoes Ivan Illich’s “Tools for Convivality,” which, although written in the ’70s is even more applicable today. This is not new. Lofgren is an important wedge to cauterize the deep state and dispell delusions of unending “progress.” However, I don’t see any evidence for his assertion that the people themselves will unravel the Deep State. What we’ve done so far is just buy a new toy, both literally and figuratively, even when so many of us are going hungry.

  • Christanne

    right on…

  • Anonymous

    Only those ancestors were on this continent before 1492 can legitimately make this argument. It is a silly argument, endlessly common for invaders to claim divine right to their spoils. “Our soil” indeed.

  • Anonymous

    Excellent essay. A very good (semi-) insider’s look at happenings within the Beltway. However, my instinct tells me that the real nexus of power doesn’t lie there, but that the Deep State operatives are allowed to continue their game-playing at public expense in order to serve a larger agenda–the ultimate bankrupting of the US and the ushering in of a new world order which has been in the making for centuries by the real powers-that-be. Uber-conspiratorial? Maybe, but I just can’t shake the feeling.

  • The One

    There is no doubt that the great american experiment has ended in ruin. There is hope on the horizon though. Due to technological progression and its rapid increase in power, the very fabric of society will change. Our social and economic models must change radically due to technological improvements. There is no end in sight to the technological pace we have been blazing at, and if there is an end it seems to be distant. The tremendous benefits of creative AI and the automation of white and blue collar workers must be built into a new social and economic model in which the benefits are distributed evenly and equally among the peoples of planet earth. Even now, if we used our technology wisely, we could unshackle large swaths of the labor markets with automated robots.

    The current state of unimaginable corruption which is inflicting the world, not just the US, is a dying last grasp for air as the oligarchies face a new powerful threat, the connection of all things. The internet has the power to upend these corrupt power structures which lie at the heart of society, and thus at the heart of every human life on this planet. Our current economic model is not situated in reality. I can’t say if the market will be up or down tomorrow, but what I know for certain is that earth is 196.9 million square miles. Which is a finite space. Not a good place for an economic model which requires economic expansion for survival. The labor markets will be greatly dis-stressed due to technological displacement. The current scientific revolution is unlike any that has ever happened on the surface of this planet. Even highly skilled workers such as surgeons have the capacity to be replaced by highly advanced robots specializing in surgery. People will see awaken to the fact that this “annoying high unemployment” is actually the new normal and will only get worse. This REQUIRES a new economic model.

    If a business refused to integrate their business with the latest automation technology, a rival that had enough foresight to not oversee this would drive his competitor out of business. Then, in our current economic model, that rival that just won the market would reap all the rewards. BUT, it will also be in the best interest of that company, if in some new economic manner, a portion of those profits would go into a general citizens fund which would provide all humans with a basic income. This type of model will be absolutely necessary due to mass unemployment. This leaves the motive for profit intact which also leads a motive for innovation, creation, and competition that humans need. With scarcity gone, and universal income for all, the future will look very very bright for our young human species. The seas of interstellar space beckon.

  • Anonymous

    Write your Senators, Congressmen, and the President to support HR 140 Representative Steve King and S 723 sponsored by Senator David Vitter to exclude the children of illegal immigrants and tourists from citizenship by birth. Birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants and tourists has been abandoned by the U.K., France, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and even India. Among developed countries, only the U.S. and Canada still allow birthright citizenship for illegal immigrants and tourists…and of course its no coincidence that in the developed world the U.S. and Canada have the highest rates of illegal immigration and rates of children born to illegal immigrants and tourists.

  • Anonymous

    Legal immigration should be encouraged and expanded.

    Illegal immigration should not be encouraged or pardoned.

    The first act of a person wishing to be an American should not be flagrantly breaking the laws of the country they wish to be a part of via their illegal entry.

    Illegal immigrants are in a sense importing into the US the culture of disrespect for the law and indeed general lawlessness that many of them ironically claim to be fleeing in their country of birth.

    Those who were on the continent before 1492 failed to take decisive action to “close the borders” to the arriving Europeans and thus their culture was destroyed, their numbers decimated to point of near extinction, and the few survivors that remained were relegated to internal exile in reservations.

    Clearly those in the present day who are incapable of learning from the historic mistake of not taking decisive action to “close the borders” made by those who were on the continent before 1492 are doomed to repeat the mistake and risk the same fate.

  • Anonymous

    I beg to differ – we have had better choices on ballots – we have simply refused to make them – is it the electoral system that has failed us or is it that we have failed to use it to get what we want and need – choosing instead to use it for the LOTE, or to beat the other guy – treating it like a team sport in which it doesn’t matter if the players are schmucks as long as they are wearing the right colored jerseys ….

  • Anonymous

    Need non-corporate 3rd party – and frankly I don’t think a Libertarian ideology has what it takes to adequately control corporate hegemony ….

  • Anonymous

    Just add in the pharmocopia of anti-depressants and antacids as you spend you time at the mall and maybe you’ll stop “thinking” …

  • http://leisureguy.wordpress.com Leisureguy

    I point out to extreme gerrymandering, allowing the GOP to have a majority in the House while securing a minority of votes overall, and (of course) to the strongly disproportionate representation in the Senate, which, along with the Senate’s use of the hold and the filibuster, allows a minority to exercise veto power (in effect). In addition there is the deluge of corporate money and the very vigorous efforts by the GOP to disenfranchise voters who might vote Democratic—even a member of the GOP admitted that the various measures were to cut down the Democratic vote by keeping Democrats from the polls.

    I certainly agree that some candidates who would have been good have been defeated, but that does not preclude problems with our election system itself.

  • Anonymous

    Naw – one could tell O was a mile wide and an inch deep quite some time before he won the primary – there were danger signs all over the place, but folks chose to ignore them – he never “changed”, he was pretty damn consistent ….

  • Anonymous

    Phillips has written some good stuff – I see him too seldom cited ….

  • Anonymous

    It wasn’t until they got the Dems on board that they succeeded …

  • Anonymous

    Having abandoned the polls – what is your “solution”?

  • Anonymous

    20th Century?

  • Anonymous

    is it voting, per se, that “doesn’t do much” or the way we have voted?

  • Anonymous

    Ah yes – “the side of private property” – seems to me we have sided with “private property” a bit too much ….

  • Anonymous

    Oh dear – keeping one’s mouth shut and allowing peace to flood in seems to require a good deal of pharmacopia these days – and, ISTM, precisely what has gotten us into this pickle ….

  • Anonymous

    I’d forgotten about the trilateralist …good to review as we reap the results of the decisions made….
    1. Get Saudis to fund the beginning of our involvemnt in Afghanistan – Brzezinski
    2. Summers financial shenanigans….

  • Anonymous

    And it is these same “low information voters” who will continue to nod like bobbleheads as Thom keeps leading them over the cliff of Dem allegiance …..

  • Anonymous

    Baloney – sorry, but that really is the only honest response …

  • Anonymous

    Oh, I dunno – seems “private property” is making a real killing thee days, so to speak …

  • Anonymous

    Well – the problem is that the folks who are in office – the D/Rs – have no interest in passing such an amendment – if they did it would be done already. If you want such an amendment, ya gotta get your buns in gear and elect non-corporate 3rd parties – it won’t be easy, but it ain’t rocket science ….

  • Anonymous

    Hmm perhaps it does take a “left” hand to get right wing legislation enacted …

  • Anonymous

    LOL!

  • Anonymous

    The Dems could have disarmed the filibuster at any time – they chose not to – it’s just too convenient to be able to blame the “opposition” for failure to advance legislation that would help the 99% but which is verboten by their corporate sponsors …

  • Anonymous

    The Dems could have changed the Sen rules to nullify that supermajority bit – there is nothing in the Constitution that requires it ….

  • Anonymous

    “The media”? If “their Media” insists on not telling the truth, we have to stop whining about it and be our own media ….

  • Anonymous

    Frankly – I think it too often the opposite – we elect folks who have no “ideology” other than their devotion to the dollar ….

    Methinks we need more principled forks in office, not fewer – for the most part, i vigorously oppose “right wing” principles – but at least they seem to have some, and they work to get them in office – the left doesn’t seem to have any principles that it is willing to put into office, though there are folks on the ballot who have them – the left doesn’t support them …

    We do get the gov’t we vote for – maybe not the one we want, but the one we vote for …

  • Anonymous

    Amen!

  • Anonymous

    “It will change” – “it” will change itself?

  • Anonymous

    Naw – folks don’t “change” in office – we just don’t pay enough attention and fall for the smoke and mirrors ….

    Nader was on the ballot in ’96,’00,’04,’08 – more folks could have pulled his lever – they didn’t … Stein was on the ballot in ’12 – more folks could have pulled her lever – they didn’t – in all cases choosing to practice what she calls “the politics of fear”.

    We could get real change through the polls if started to use them to get what we wanted instead of the best (LOTE, e.g.) the MSM says we can get ….

  • Anonymous

    There are more than 2 parties – available to choose – nothing will change until folks do …

  • Anonymous

    It continues to operate at the behest, under the guidance, and with the complicity of the elected government – so lets change that ….

  • Anonymous

    I suspect we have a pretty good idea of what we want – and there are folks on ballots who would flesh it out – what we need to do is actually vote for those folks …

  • Anonymous

    I do not dispute there are indeed problems with the system – however, i suggest that it is because TPTB know the potential it has that they are taking every opportunity to stifle it – all the more reason to use it to our best advantage while we still can …

  • Antonio Germano

    I never said that there was. However, someone in the deep, dark past thought that it was a good idea, back when the Senate fulfilled its proper Constitutional role of being the voice of the sovereign States. Now it’s just another rabble cobbled together by voting blocs interested in fleecing their fellow citizens through the ballot box.

    And another thing: If the Dems had changed the super-majority rule, they might have been whining and moaning about unfairness come next legislative session if the elephants had taken control of the Senate in the upcomign mid-term elections. What goes around, comes around.

  • Antonio Germano

    There may be a lot of job displacement, but one thing won’t change, and that’s scarcity. All of economics is built on that reality. That’s the root of all economic analysis. Unless you can eliminate that, then there will always be a need for people to produce.

    I can’t say what the future will hold, as far as jobs and economic growth are concerned, but I guarantee that the future will not be shaped by any kind of central planning. The future will be shaped by people buying and selling, on the margins, just as it always has been. The future will also be shaped by those with the foresight to anticipate what people will want or need, just as it always has been.

  • http://leisureguy.wordpress.com Leisureguy

    And that takes us back to the point I made in the first place: we have a mechanism through which we can achieve revolutionary change without violence. If that mechanism is jammed and made inoperable, the results can be very bad: revolution achieved through violence.

    I think we are in agreement.

  • Anonymous

    “…another thing” – yup – if they changed the rule so they could get what they claimed was their agenda passed, the Reps might have been able to do the same – however the Reps could do that anyway themselves if they regained power –

    In any case, what does that say about a Party that would refuse to advance a decent agenda just so the other party couldn’t advance its own at another date – in essence, cutting off our noses to spite the Reps face – they could have done what they knew we sent them there to do, and they refused, hiding behind rules they could have changed – more and more folks are waking up …

    ISTM it oughta be obvious by now that this “struggle” between the Reps and the Dems isn’t about principle or ideology and it certainly isn’t about representing us – it is about who gets to be in charge of handing out the perks and who gets the perks – those in power are the ones who get both ….

  • Charles Shaver

    Nice to keep learning of a plethora of ambiguous symptoms but, short of too costly general strikes or domestic insurrection, only voting proved corrupt politicians of both major parties out of high office every other November will eventually restore legal functionality to the U.S. Government. So, vote in every general election and vote against those who stray. ‘How to know’ one might ask? Simply vote ‘out with the old; in with the new,’ every time, until we have the kind of America the Founders prescribed in the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution.

  • Anonymous

    Perhaps we are – i am not sure whether you think the mechanism is already inoperable – i do not ….

  • http://leisureguy.wordpress.com Leisureguy

    My point is that it’s a bad thing for the mechanism of elections to be undermined, and I can see (as can you) that strenuous efforts are being made to stymie the will of the majority. IF these efforts succeed, history suggests violence will follow.

    The mechanism is not inoperable, but it has been enfeebled and continuing efforts are being made to ruin it.

  • Anonymous

    With that I agree – which is why i said that we had better use it to make the changes we need while we still can ….

  • Anonymous

    It only depends on your definition of “the US.” Yes, a panel of CEOs famously declined Ralph Nader’s invitation to join him in the Pledge of Allegiance, but in the State Department memo that outlined the policy of containment of the USSR, George Kennan said the vast wealth disparity between the US and the rest of the world must be maintained, while civil rights and democracy could be neglected.

    By then, the post-World War One idealists who’d joined calls for socialism and one-world government, to prevent another such catastrophe, had seen things differently once Russia turned Eastrrn Europe into a barricade against further invasions from the West. They could not bring themselves to reb against their banker fathers, but they still believed in a one-world government – it would simply be the government of the United States. The entire world would be brought into the economc system we ran, no matter what citizens and their elected governments wanted.

    During the Cold War, NATO was used to bring European intelligence agencies and militaries under domnance by the CIA and the Pentagon. Putting ordnance, money and men in place to resist a Soviet takeover made perfect sense, but it operated in peacetime to keep left-wingers out of Continental governments. We overthrew an Italian government, for example. Not by ourselves, of course: the secret “stay-behind” troops were nitorious right-wing fanatics, who could be trusted to carry out their missions regardless of law, Constitutionality or morality. False-flag shootings and bombings in public squares and supermarkets killed many innocent civilians and were blamed on leftist radical groups which had been thoroughly penetrated already anyway. This was to win public support for stricter security policies and, perhaps, punish citizens for voting in liberal-to-left governments. This was admitted in the Italian parliament by the Prime Minister in 1990. Operation GLADIO, as it was called, involved every NATO country. Investigations were promised, but were aborted or came to mothing.

    This is what Putin knows will happen if Ukraine joins NATO, for instance, so don’t expect him to take it lying down. He operates a Russian version.

    In the US, a group of Wall Street financiers discussed literally overthrowing FDR in order to end the New Deal regulatory state, but didn’t get past the talking stage. The Senate held hearings but J. Edgar Hoover declined to investigate becayse “no crime was committed.” This is the same FBI director who opened pressure dossiers on citizens who carried protest signs or wrote letters to newspapers or the government opposing our war policies, and tried to get Martin Luthed King to commit suicide.

    Note the secrecy surrounding current trade-agreement negotiations, and accompanying high security. This dates back to the fiaco of the world trade talks in Seattle some years ago, when street protests neatly brought them to a halt. An Italian citizen was killed during protests against trade talks in Genoa yeats later.

  • Anonymous

    This was a superb essay–one I have been awaiting for years. One minor addition: there is another non DOD component to the aforementioned group, which is DOE. Admittedly,
    it’s rather easy to forget about them–but one should not. Ever.

  • Anonymous

    But I really wonder if voting is a sufficient tool for the citizenry to tell the government what it thinks.
    Elections are not very frequent, they are deeply manipulated by complex “strategists” (look at the connection between the now-slowly-debunked gay marriage referenda and the re-election of Bush Jr).
    Though I find it tedious and at times inefficient I wouldn’t mind being part of a citizenry like France that literally shuts the country down until the government says “uncle”.

  • Anonymous

    I believe the fourth estate and the way the US government interacts with it have a lot to do with the opacity of the veil I find floating between myself and whatever happens inside the beltway.

    The US government keeps journalists begging for the tiniest crumbs. No one is willing to leak anything for fear of being caught.

    When I asked a friend in the diplomatic corps what was the most striking about his stint in DC he said the depth at which government officials changed with each new administration compared to other countries. DC’s moving business is booming beyond anything imaginable. This is also a tidy way to keep a tight grip on “messaging” – a skill each administration seems to get better and better at.

    There is a reason wikileaks has emerged and parody has replaced the stale format of the evening news.

  • Charles Shaver

    Voting is still an effective tool. Unfortunately, statistically, a majority of manipulated voters will only dirty their hands to install and re-install soluble Democrats and Republicans when seeking water tight integrity; insane, by Einstein’s definition. Now is well past the best time to make some real repairs but, perhaps, not yet too late to save a sinking ship. And, shutting the engine down won’t plug the leaks.

  • Pat Kittle

    We Americans are already plenty overcrowded, but Israel lobby billionaires want open borders and they’ve paid big bucks to both Republicans & Democrats. So open borders and endless population growth it is, ecological sustainability be damned.

    And don’t give me that “anti-Semitic” hooey, I’m just stating facts.

    Zuckerberg, Bloomberg, Soros, Gelbaum, Adelson, etc., etc., Israel lobby, all of them.

    No serious discussion of the “deep state” would ignore that elephant in the living room.

  • Anonymous

    This is not a valid critique. The Deep State serves organized wealth and works to further increase inequality and social stratification. Thus the Deep State represents entrenched right-wing power. It is a matter of state capture. Both parties support this consensus and are thus supremely conservative. The same goes for the media which is owned by these same centers of organized wealth.

  • Matt P.

    It’s not a matter of keeping one’s mouth shut, but actions speak louder than words. Being angry and contentious all the time is not the same as being productive about the issues you believe in. Whenever I see an inequality in the street, on the subway, or at a party I react. I stand up for the person, I intervene and get involved. The rest of the time I do keep my mouth shut because there’s nothing to say. It doesn’t help anyone to spread unhappiness around. In fact it drains your energy so you’re not ready or as effective for the next opportunity.

  • Anonymous

    No speaking up against the system that produces so much inequality?

  • Hugh Jorgan

    What the hell does that have to do with this article?

  • Anonymous

    This is a great article…that few will ever read. In the words of Mark Twain, “I’d have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time”.

  • Sean Kurnow

    I get a laugh at people who yell, whine and complain about politicians and party politics….It’s like yelling at a ventriloquist dummy instead of the person controlling it. America became a plutocracy in 1913 when the Federal Reserve was created. Since then, we all know that special interest groups control almost every aspect of government policy.

  • Anonymous

    I will assume you simply did not understand what I wrote or what ‘slouching’ wrote – ironic eh?
    Lets remove Thom Hartmann from the equation, as it seems to be where you flew off the rails…what then is your defense of the idiots we allude to?

  • Anonymous

    I well understand the argument about brainwashing – have heard it a gazillion times ….

    The “idiots” you refer to – who are these folk?

    And while the corp media was brainwashing them, what were the rest of us doing? Sitting on our hands?

  • Bill Wesley

    well for once I have no comment, its not required in that the writer has made the case with expert precision, I find no flaws, no omissions, no theory or dogma obstructing the writers view. Its nice to see such well presented intellectual compitance, it allows me to feel relief, I can take a break since others are seen to be on the ball

  • FroboseTF

    Charles:
    Voting used to be an effective tool. Unfortunately with the advent of “Electronic Voting Machines” which must be “Programmed”, and leave no paper trail to allow a recount; I fear that if the truth be known our elections are probably rigged on a regular basis to reflect the will of those in actual power now.

    I believe it was Joseph Stalin who said “It’s not who casts the votes that’s important. It’s who counts them.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, it was a Mossad (Israeli Intel)/US Intel op. US organized it and funded the Al Qaeda end of it via Paki intel officer General Mahmoud Ahmed, while the Mossad prepped the US targets and ran the anthrax mail op. I’m not sure that Mossad didn’t dream it up in the first place, but, whatever the details, Al Qaeda was definitely just a bit player in the op with the real culprits being our own fearless leaders.

  • Charles Shaver

    There appears to be that potential but why bother when Wall Street already owns the two major parties, nearly half of those eligible don’t vote and only a percent or two of the electorate vote wisely?

  • Anonymous

    Great read. It’s amazing how people still think those whom they elect run the nation and do so in the interest of the people of that nation. Couldn’t be farther from the reality. The men and women, and computers, run the show at agency level because they outlast most of those who get elected. Those who are elected that stay elected only do so because the agencies of government do not expose them or otherwise seek their demise.

  • AManCalledDa-da

    If anyone but Mike would’ve written this, the Powers That Were would be branding him a tin-hatter.

  • Reuben_the_Red

    Winner-takes-all elections (as opposed to proportional representation) and the Electoral College are inherently undemocratic and present the illusion of voter participation without the danger of undue voter influence.

  • Reuben_the_Red

    Excellent discussion of the intersection of money, power, and early 21st century technology in the US today. Food for thought, especially paired with Moyer’s recent documentary about ALEC.

    One caveat: Paragraph 21 starts out saying, “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,” but in paragraph 22, “there are signs of resistance to the Deep State and its demands.” Paragraph 21 has already made the case that resistance is irrelevant and impotent in the face of the Deep State apparatus, power/wealth reserves, and democracy-subverting methodology. And that’s probably true. There may be no way to actually extricate the Deep State from The Superficial State.

    We are left in the final few paragraphs with a series of reasons that the Deep State might reverse course voluntarily, or unravel of its own accord, but in the end what we really need 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”: in other words, some kind of charismatic, messianic Jesus-person, to save us from ourselves. I don’t object to the author trying to end with a hopeful note of optimism, but how would this person reach us with that message? Are there not already a host of people who have been saying exactly that for decades, from Noam Chomsky to Angela Davis, from Daniel Quinn to Arundhati Roy, from Mark Twain to John Lennon? Have we not managed to ignore and disregard a notable and widely-published list of people trying to tell us that national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that do nothing to elevate humanity nor the human condition?

    “Thus disenthralled,
    the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed.” It seems clear that we will be forever enthralled with our credit scores and our televised sporting events and other televised virtual realities until the government of the US actually collapses due to a variety of currently known and unknown factors (economic, ecological, etc). And that’s not gonna be pretty either. And even then there is the further possibility that in such an event of complete destabilization (not unthinkable, has happened throughout history, around the world), the Deep State could become simply The State.

  • http://billslater.com/bp William Slater

    I think I prefer the Deep South over the Deep State.

    Nevertheless, Bill Moyers is a great writer and a great journalist. Thank you, Sir, for for your excellent, informative essay.

  • Charles Shaver

    As true as that may be, only about one to three percent of us know and bother to send the right message on election day. So, where’s the impetus for those Wall Street puppets to ever fix what they’ve illegally, increasingly been breaking in favor of a tiny rich minority for decades?

  • Reuben_the_Red

    Being automatically granted citizenship status because you were born on one side of an arbitrary, superficial border is silly. We’re all just as human, regardless of which side of the border we’re born on. None of us chose our parents or location of birth, yet that is often enough to decide who to punish and who gets a free pass.

  • Reuben_the_Red

    Agreed. Presumably there is no incentive in the Deep State to undermine the omnipotence of the Deep State.

    There are ways to increase voter participation (non-participation fines and penalties as I understand Australians are subject to; make voting day a federal holiday or even better a three-day weekend; give the right to vote back to felons and inmates alike; etc.) but wouldn’t we still be left to choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee?

  • Charles Shaver

    I haven’t voted for Tweedledee or Tweedledum for President since Ronald Reagan and, since learning of Gramm-Leach-Bliley in 2012, I don’t vote for either for Congress. I’d rather take a chance on a third, fourth or fifth party unknown, a blank ballot or a write-in candidate than on another known destroyer from one of the two major parties. Participation alone is not enough; it has to be informed participation, referenced against the clear, plain and simple language of the U.S. Constitution. So, how do we get the word out?

  • Reuben_the_Red

    It would have been a very different election in 2012 if the Republican establishment and the corporate media machine had not colluded to rig the primaries so that Mitt Romney was the nominee, and not the one that the majority of voting Republicans wanted, Ron Paul, who ran on a platform that ironically appealed to many leftists, because of his insistence that foreign military interventions and US global military incursions cease immediately.

    It’s possible that the realistic threat of a viable third party candidate on the outer fringe of the left or the right could be enough to force that respective party to yield to those fringe demands, incorporating those demands into a mainstream platform, more or less like the Tea Party did with the Republican party in recent years, threatening to take their votes elsewhere.

    At the same time, more Americans voted for left wing platforms than right wing platforms in 2000, but due to the winner-takes-all elections, we didn’t get a government that was 5% Nader, 45% Gore, 45% Bush, majority leftist reflecting the vote. We got 100% Bush. We got corporate welfare, tax cuts for the uber wealthy which did not result in higher employment, we got two decade-long unprovoked foreign wars riddled with war crimes, and we got persistent recession. Some of these things, if not all of them, would not and could not have happened under a Nader/Gore-led government. The Deep State expanded massively with the Bush/Cheney administration’s complicity. I wish that it was worthwhile to vote for third-party candidates, but we can expect them to receive no media coverage, few votes overall despite the possibly broad appeal of their platform, and in the end it would be irrelevant because of the Electoral College. If I live in Oregon and vote for Romney my vote is thrown away as surely as if I live in Utah and vote for Obama.

    In answer to your question, how do we get the word out, I think the only answer is media ownership. Our lives are more consumed by media today than ever before in the history of the world, and all of the media is concentrated in fewer hands, with more consensus among those few hands, than ever before.

  • Charles Shaver

    It would be a very different election every time, and nation, if the majority would simply quit believing in the now defunct two-party system, corporate owned media and an extremist capitalist system that values the gains of the uber wealthy over the lives and limbs of workers and the poor. It’s okay to question the status quo, ignore corporate media, do independent research, vote totally independent of family tradition and elect questionable strangers (as opposed to proved bipartisan failures) to defund the Deep State. Need a little more direction? Review the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. It pretty well sums it all up in rather clear, plain and simple English, if you keep in mind that not just millionaires, billionaires and multi-national corporations (allegedly) are ‘people.’ Good conversation.

  • Reuben_the_Red

    In the words of Edward Abbey, “Anarchism? You bet your sweet betsy. The only cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy. Much more.”

  • Charles Shaver

    Abbey, then; Deep State, now; this is an election year in which a simple majority of responsible citizens could oust enough miscreants of two flavors to postpone, if not preclude, more anarchy.

  • jeffries

    Mike Lofgren wrote the essay. Bill Moyers was allowed to interview him. PBS has its hands tied by the “deep state” too. If you doubt this talk ask PBS why they pulled the plug on the Koch Brothers expose.

  • jeffries

    The “deep state,” like a parasite, will continue until its host is dead. My guess is they are in a state of panic-their host is on life support. The party is over- the rest of the world has had enough of the U.S. The petro dollar has been broken. The dollar will be dethroned as the world reserve currency and the torch will be passed to China no later than 2018. The players of the “deep state” will not be able to infiltrate and latch onto this new host and so they will fight to the death, more accurately our sons and daughters death, to keep the U.S. in its position. Resist war is all we can do and not buy into the steady stream of propaganda that will be bombarding us at every turn.

  • Hatha Sunahara

    I haven’t read all 328 comments so far, but I just wonder if anybody has picked up on the reason the deep state has developed. I think it’s development stems from the evolution of the United States from a Republic into an Empire. No empire can exist with restrictions on its power like those put on the United States by the Constitution. So, instead of discarding the Constitution, the United States was subsumed into an ‘extra-constitutional government’. Of course, nobody bothered to tell the people of the United States that their power had been usurped by a lawless Imperial overlord. Responsibility for that egregious oversight can be laid to the mainstream media, which is owned by the owners of the extra-constitutional government. These are the global media corporations.

    If you view politics this way, it explains a lot of things. Empire relies on it’s military power and the acceptance of its money. Anyone who does not accept the empire’s money generates hostility from the empire. The empire wages war without any declaration of war. The extra constitutional government allows that. The empire cannot tolerate privacy because that would allow people to plot against the empire without interference. So the empire puts everyone under surveillance. The empire cannot tolerate resistance or disobedience, so it develops a police state to instil fear and obedience in people. There are many many more examples of how empire rules America and usurps the US government–which exists for the people of the United States. Americans, and the people of the other countries in the world understand this viscerally, but are unable to express this in coherent thought because their language has been corrupted by the forces of empire. Mike Lofgren doesn’t make this connection because iit violates the rules of political correctness. Everyone’s career is tied to strict adherence to political correctness, and religious avoidance of taboo subjects. The American Empire exists in fact, but it doesn’t exist in public discourse.

  • Anonymous

    Confederate/Corporate …there is a difference? Not much of one that I can see.

  • Anonymous

    At the end of the day, the issue is a simple one: The US constitution is a piss-poorly drawn document.

    The Federal Government was a creature of the States, that was quickly reversed.
    The States imagined that they were the judges of the constitutionality of Federal Laws, that was gone within fifty years
    Lincoln murdered 600 odd thousand to prevent :”government of the people, for the people, by the people”

    etc…

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  • Charles Shaver

    Mostly well said. Two things you might have included: 1.) voters, not the media are responsible for actually electing those who usurp the Constitution and 2.) how the empire is already collapsing; what empires built on lies, fraud and inequality eventually do.

  • Charles Shaver

    Unlike the laws of nature, man-made laws can be broken. The U.S. Constitution is no exception. In the Preamble, thereto, it is stated “…to form a more perfect Union…” How exactly does that empower individual states to secede when they disagree with federal policy? May I suggest we don’t blame the message for the failure of the messengers to deliver it? However imperfect it still is, the Founders imbedded the U.S. Constitution with the laws of nature and nature is responding appropriately; slowly, but appropriately.

  • Anonymous

    Well, ‘idiots’ may be painting with too broad a brush manifest via frustration. Those who promote factual inaccuracies and opinion as fact even while presented with countervailing evidence…that’s idiotic. You can use what adjective you wish to describe it. As for “what were the rest of us doing? Sitting on our hands?” I’m not sure what your questions are there…if it is meant to suggest one is sitting ideally watching the world go round…is that your suggestion? because that’s simply an assumption.

  • Anonymous

    And many of the voters have been brainwashed by the 5 or 6 corporations that control the media. Fear entertainment.

  • Anonymous

    After I read Top Secret America I came to the conclusion that since 9/11 Homeland Security has become so incredibly humongous and so political it will keep growing until the US is bankrupt. The was the goal of Benladen. Europe did not fall for it be we did.

  • Anonymous

    Some contemporary books Blackwater, Bloodmoney, and especially Confessions if a Economic Hit Man. Also Top Secret America.

  • Charles Shaver

    I think a better name for ‘Homeland Security’ is ‘elitist money addict insecurity.’ And, it and treasonous corporate media propaganda will keep growing until we as an injured people finally ‘Just say NO!’ to the ‘perpetraitors.’ Thanks for commenting, above and below.

  • Anonymous

    There is a small very readable book written by John Perkins named Confessions of an Economic hit Man. This is the way the Corporatocracy has used the IMF and World Bank to take over the assets of less developed countries. And if their leaders do not agree to go along well then read what happens to them.

  • Anonymous

    How do you know this?

  • Anonymous

    In many states felons are legally allowed to vote if they have served their sentences. And if they moved to Florida their vote was legal. But Jeb Bush broke the law and did not allow their vote to count in the Bush/Gore election. The Republicans also paid a fortune to a company named Choice Point to scrub the polls. They also did this in the latest election for Governor. How can they get away with these tactics? The tactics that are being used in North Carolina lately are extremely difficult to counteract.

  • Anonymous

    Funny (not ha ha) when I try to tell friends what is going on within Homeland Security (the redundancy, the extreme size of it and the number of government and private buildings all around the Washington suburbs) they respond by stating that they approve of all this. Homeland security is so political that this state if affairs will be sucking up our tax dollars forever.

  • moderator

    To the community,

    We have a zero tolerance policy when it comes to racial slurs and hate speech. If you chose to ignore our comment policy you will no longer be allowed to participate in the community.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Neil Kitson

    “These men, largely private, were
    functioning on a level different from the foreign policy of the United
    States, and years later when New York Times reporter
    Neil Sheehan read through the entire documentary history of the war,
    that history known as the Pentagon Papers, he would come away with one
    impression above all, which was that the government of the United States
    was not what he had thought it was; it was as if there were an inner
    U.S. government, what he called ‘a centralized state, far more powerful
    than anything else, for whom the enemy is not simply the Communists but
    everything else, its own press, its own judiciary, its own Congress,
    foreign and friendly governments – all these are potentially
    antagonistic. It had survived and perpetuated itself,’ Sheehan
    continued, ‘often using the issue of anti-Communism as a weapon against
    the other branches of government and the press, and finally, it does not
    function necessarily for the benefit of the Republic but rather for its
    own ends, its own perpetuation; it has its own codes which are quite
    different from public codes. Secrecy was a way of protecting itself, not
    so much from threats by foreign governments but from detection from its
    own population on charges of its own competence and wisdom.’ Each
    succeeding Administration, Sheehan noted, was careful, once in office,
    not to expose the weaknesses of its predecessor. After all, essentially
    the same people were running the governments, they had continuity to
    each other, and each succeeding Administration found itself faced with
    virtually the same enemies. Thus the national security apparatus kept
    its continuity, and every outgoing President tended to rally to the side
    of the incumbent President.

    “Out of this of course came a willingness to use covert operations; it was a
    necessity of the times, to match the Communists, and what your own
    population and your own Congress did not know was not particularly
    important; it was almost better if they did not know…”

    David Halberstam
    The Best and The Brightest

  • Charles Shaver

    Very typically, you appear to be better informed and better read on some aspects of our failed and failing nation-state than I. Admittedly, I don’t have all the answers. Briefly, though, respective of all you cite, I find the vast majority of Americans just don’t want to be burdened any more with good citizenship (e.g., election statistics). Most recently, another symptom of the underlying problem was highlighted when the billionaire owner of a mere commercial (as opposed to ‘professional’) basketball team in a society that tolerates abject poverty and illegal war was severely chastised and sanctioned for only elitist, racist remarks. Summarily, let me say that my America took a big turn for the worse when the ‘Pied Piper’ was bribed to play the National Anthem. Nope, not ‘ha ha’ funny, at all. And, I don’t know whether to dread or rejoice the day when the coerced laughter finally ends, and the music dies.

  • Anonymous

    During the 2nd Bush administration I started to notice all the books listed in the Washington Post book section about his administration. After awhile I thought maybe I should start reading. The first page turner was one by Bob Woodward about the lead up to the Iraq war. It showed me that we were not getting truth from the media so I kept on reading books. First about Iraq-Fiasco, The man who got is into the war Amad Chalabi, Blackwater, Bloodmoney and many others. I keep telling people to read more but they choose not to. They are either working too hard or if retired playing too hard. They just want to be spoon fed and are addicted to outrage entertainment. I continued my reading on economics, finance, climate change and understand much more than I did before. Keynes vs Hyeck explains the history of the two economic theories. Also how the shift to the right happened during The Reagan and Thatcher administrations. Age of Greed explains how a few very greedy men influenced congress to repeal laws and pass laws in their favor. Tim Flannerys book The Weather Makers explains Climate change. And there are too many books written on income disparity and the danger to democracy. What is happening is out of control and a nightmare. I don’t think people understand that when a government service for the commons is privatized it becomes a corporation with lobbyists that influence Congress and that we taxpayers must pay their employees at a much higher rate. Like the army contractors, prisons and so on. People do not put on their thinking caps. Sorry for the rant.

  • Charles Shaver

    Interesting, impressive; different paths, one destination; better a rant than a sell-out or surrender. Beware of putting too much faith in the opinions of others, myself included. We all are products of our past and there is a natural tendency for the adult progeny to emulate the parent; the student to mimic the teacher; the reader to quote the author. I find the U.S. Constitution is the best source of information about how America should function but I don’t hear or see much of that from any of the so-called ‘experts.’ If electrical engineers treated Ohm’s Law like authors, bankers, government, lawyers and the ‘people’ treat the U.S. Constitution, you’d be reading this in script on parchment by candlelight, if at all. And, don’t let me discourage you; where I fail you may succeed. Let reason prevail. Thanks for the stimulating conversation.

  • Anonymous

    Yes we all have the tendency to read whatever validates our worldview. I read Gretchen Morgensterns book named Reckless Endangerment about Fannie Mae. Saw her talk on Cspan book channel. Needed to get to the bottom of that mess. Jim Johnson was and still is a very shady character. It is strange however that the Republicans reduced the entire 2008 recession down to two sound bites Fannie Mae and the CRA (I think that is the acrynom) for the program to stop the redlining. No one knows anything about the history and purpose of Fannie Mae and it’s original purpose until Johnson got his hands on it. If one has critical thinking one can sift out the truth. I just cannot believe that people will believe a sound bite without any hesitation.

  • Charles Shaver

    Been ‘deep thinking’ a lot more about the Deep State but, without yesterday’s lost credentials or celebrity (good or bad), there’s not much I can presently do. One clever sound-bite might do the trick but none I’ve composed and tried so far have caught on. Still, probably, is tomorrow.

  • Anonymous

    I actually thought of a really good sound bite and communicated it to the White House. No one took me up on it. Wish I could remember what it was. If you have any you could try. But they are not very confrontational.

  • Charles Shaver

    I liked candidate Obama’s words but never voted for him, because he already belonged to one of two already proved dysfunctional major political parties. Writing the Obama White House and even getting a few generic replies while watching him fail the office, too, I do not regret ‘wasting’ my vote on a ‘green’ third party candidate. After rereading The Anatomy of the Deep State, today, I’m sure I could read more and probably phrase things better but am still confident in my decades of working-class experience-based conclusions and suggestions.

  • sorval

    “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave”

    has become

    Land of the “Free”, Home of the “Brave”.

  • johnnyomaha

    Privatization of the US constitution to serve the elite…..

  • Anonymous

    Page Not Found

  • http://www.rrstevens.net/ Robert Stevens

    … OR is it “Land of the Greed, Home of the Knave” !
    Let’s sing it all together before the next Football Game and Circus: ♫ “o’er the Land of the Greed …” ♫