Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

Americans perceive what has happened to their democratic Republic only dimly, tricked by rightists who call all collective government actions bad and by neoliberals who make “markets” a new-age god. But ex-congressional budget official Mike Lofgren shows how this “Deep State” really works, writes Chuck Spinney.

By Chuck Spinney

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

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

books The Deep State 1

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

Before reading further, be advised, I am biased: the author, Mike Lofgren, is a long-time colleague and close friend. Lofgren worked on Capitol Hill while I worked in the Pentagon. Over the years, beginning in the late 1980s, we discussed and tried to understand the many hidden connections that had evolved insensibly over time to disconnect the money-siphoning operations of the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex from the system of checks and balances designed by the Framers of the Constitution.

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

Making sense out of that mix is no mean feat. To be sure, the story Lofgren weaves is complex, and at times overwhelming and disgusting, but anyone can understand it, if one takes the time to read and think about what Lofgren is saying.

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

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

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

Lofgren’s discussion of the career trajectory and policy actions of Robert Rubin, President Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury, is a particularly illuminating, if extreme, example of how an adept player games the triangle to accrete fabulous riches and oligarchical power.

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

Figure 1

Figure 1

 

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

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

But there is more. Lofgren explains how the more obvious idea of an iron triangle is only the inner core of a far-reaching web of interests. This web includes, inter alia, the machinations of lobbyists, think tanks, political action committees (PACs), universities, pseudo intellectuals and ideologues, establishment promoting pundits in the fourth estate, tax deductible foundations, and behind them, the deep pockets of the secretive billionaire oligarchs, who have had their influence unleashed by the recent decisions of the Supreme Court.

The blood giving life to the inner and outer aspects of this pulsating web of non-democratic power and influence is MONEY, which the Supreme Court in its Citizens United Decision legitimated as a form of free speech protected by the First Amendment.

To Lofgren’s argument, I would add the accumulating result of America’s insensible descent into the Deep State is a work in progress. I also argue that this work is being been accompanied by a gradual emergence of  a peculiarly American amalgam of fascist, corporatist and neoliberal organizational ideologies. This amalgam is evolving into “winner take all” political economy that subordinates citizens and workers and the state to growing oligarchical powers in the private sector.

Figure 2 is a kind of thought experiment I designed to explore the ramifications of this possibility. It lists some of the political and economic features of the fascist, corporatist and laissez-faire (aka neoliberal) ideologies. To be sure, these are murky features, especially in the case of those relating to fascism, but I think most objective readers would agree that the features outlined in Figure 2 are very prominent in each of these forms of political-economic organization. The experiment is to ask yourself if the emergent American political economy exhibits hints of these features. The boxes checked in red are my affirmative answers to these questions.

Figure 2

Figure 2

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

Don’t take my word for it. Read Lofgren’s book, then think about how you would check or redefine the boxes in Figure 2 and draw your own conclusions.

One of the most important aspects of Lofgren’s analysis, at least to my thinking, lies in his frequent reminders that the structural aspects of this current state of affairs are not the results of a centrally guided conspiracy hashed out in a smoke-filled room. The “structure” of the contemporary American Deep State is more an emergent property triggered by the incremental give-and-take by thousands of players, whose successes and failures are conditioned by an interplay of chance and necessity, in what is really a cultural evolution.

To be sure, there are lots of smoke-filled rooms conspiring invisibly to play this game of chance and necessity, but they are competing with each other as well as cooperating — and it is the evolutionary character of the Deep State that enables it to survive, adapt and grow on its own terms, and that emergent character is what makes the Deep State so dangerously resistant to change.

Chuck Spinney is a former military analyst for the Pentagon who was famous for the “Spinney Report,” which criticized the Pentagon’s wasteful pursuit of costly and complex weapons systems.

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15 comments for “Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

  1. Fascinating
    February 12, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    Interesting that the author applies the title of molecular biologist Jacques Monod’s book, “Chance and Necessity,” published back in the 1970’s to explain biological evolution at the molecular level, to evolution of the American economy and government. And, why not? From the sub-cellular to the societal levels, all comes down to how information processing systems (entities from cells to entire countries) come to be regulated through intricate feedback loops in their environmental milieu. I wonder if Lofgren is familiar with Monod’s work (Monod was co-discoverer of the “operon,” a model explaining transcriptional control of gene expression), or if his usage of the expression was pure serendipity?

  2. Sam
    February 12, 2016 at 9:27 pm

    It is a good point that the mechanisms by which money dominates the institutions of democracy are self-organizing. This avoids sketching details of collusions or hypothesizing central control mechanisms.

    Large economic concentrations emerged since the Constitution was written, and so it has no mechanisms at all to protect democratic institutions from money. The US is completely vulnerable to all of the well-known vices and corruptions of government throughout human history, despite the best efforts of its founders, because these are now manifest in the domain of economic power rather than the raw coercive power so nicely regulated in the Constitution. Money is the new domain of all the government evils that ever were, the terminal disease of democracy. The most ancient and savage gang organizations and tribal processes are back in full force. We have nothing left but conspiracies of savages to guide us.

    The abuses of economic power are concealed from the people precisely because it already controls the mass media and elections, the fundamental tools of democracy. So no political change, such as amendments to restrict funding of mass media and elections, will be allowed to be broadly considered. But it is helpful that websites such as this one can provide understanding to those who have never considered the problems.

    I fear that the only way out of this is war upon the oligarchy, which likely will be great, savage, unfocused, and protracted, nothing that anyone could advise. But I would not stop it. The US has a terrible lesson to learn about corruption, and the sooner the better.

  3. Mike
    February 12, 2016 at 10:39 pm

    Thank You Uncle ‘Sam’.
    Is there no chance that
    charges will be filed
    against financial fraud
    suspects and war crime
    suspects?Why can’t the
    gangs and tribal forces
    simply exercise their
    right to vote?Jill Stein
    will be on the ballot and
    she offers solutions not
    ‘war’.Why not arrest the
    crime suspects pending
    trial.If Gitmo is
    still open some prominent
    CEO’s,Financiers and Poli-
    ticians may serve time there.
    If you ‘war’ on the oligarchy
    and ‘win’ and become
    the new oligarchy how long
    before the war on you?

    • Anonymouse
      February 12, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      There won’t be an oligarchy if we return to and enforce the original Constitution and The Bill of Rights.

    • Sam
      February 13, 2016 at 7:28 am

      If one assumes that elections are not already controlled by money, such expedients would certainly be part of a solution.
      1. So far nothing has been done to financial fraudsters because they are the bedrock of financial support for oligarchy reps, who of course agree with them.
      2. The gangs and tribal forces are the economic oligarchy, and of course they vote as they believe, especially with the ill-gotten so sacred in their beliefs.
      3. Jill Stein one hears of far less than Sen Warren who knew it was hopeless.
      4. Gitmo or other prisons for the oligarchy would be fine but no such enforcement is possible. One would have to replace every politician, judge, and half of federal employees.

      The problem is exactly that elections and mass media are already controlled, so all of the preferable solutions, nice clean operations of a society which is not already irretrievably corrupted, have not can cannot work.

      Your final assumption, that a revolution must be as corrupt as those it replaces, is not arguable in the light of history. Usually revolutions achieve only incremental improvements, but over time they have worked. For example the US revolutionary war. But ours has failed at last due to the emergence of economic concentrations. Which is not to suggest that history needs only one more upheaval to avoid the “self-organizing” seekers personal gain through corruption.

      The US has in fact suffered a right wing revolution against democracy, and democracy has lost. So our only real hope is another forcible suppression of the savagery of greed, this time establishing a Constitution that regulates economic influence upon government, and other corrupt uses of economic power.

      Surely you do not proffer the shards of democracy to the people as signs that it still exists. Surely you do not credit all that is right about the US to those who are all that is wrong with the US. Surely you do not seek to threaten those who would reform with the vengeance of those who have corrupted.

      • Sam
        February 13, 2016 at 8:51 am

        Re-reading your comment, I’m glad that I said “surely not,” for I see that you do not imply such things.

  4. Herman
    February 13, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    The energy in the movement not to allow “big” money to determine who gets elected and what they do once the benefactors get in office seems to ebb and flow. Most of us don’t want to deal with the issue, to be sidetracked from the entertaining aspects of the competition between candidates, to formulate in our minds an agenda for change. There is the World Series, the Super Bowl, March Madness, the Kardashians, et al to keep our minds off of reform, convinced that what we do will make no difference anyhow. While we, the mass of citizens, are often looked upon as too stupid to discern issues of national importance, we are instead simply too busy and what is the difference anyhow.

    The point there needs to be a reawakening of our civic responsibilities, to carve out time to begin the tedious task of grassroots support to make the governments work for us. Being too lazy is too simple an explanation but somehow there needs to be way to make civic duty part of our everyday lives. While pleading guilty, it seems that there must be a way to get people to engage, and for the people to get satisfaction out of such engagement.

  5. Christene Bartels
    February 13, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I am 55 years old. I cast my first vote at the tender age of 19 for Ronald Reagan in 1980 and never looked back. Until now.

    In the words of George Washington;
    “However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.”

    National politics is nothing but a rigged game run by greedy, corrupt, duplicitous, manipulative, power hungry politicians, lobbyists and billionaire Elitists. Frankly, I don’t even care who wins the presidency as long as it is either Sanders or Trump. No one person is going to go to Washington and “change” it. It is beyond redemption, so I’m just looking to stick my middle finger into the gears of the “Machine”.

    If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result, then this nation-wide farce we are all engaging in is sheer lunacy. Wake up America. Real change demands courage, fortitude, and plain hard work, but it is possible. I would invite all Americans who still have some common sense and intestinal fortitude left to learn about Article V, the Tenth Amendment, and the Convention of States. It’s the only way the American people have a prayer of chaining the beast known as the Washington Establishment.

  6. Abe
    February 13, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    Peter Dale Scott is the author of The American Deep State: Wall Street, Big Oil, and the Attack on U.S. Democracy (2014); American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (2010); The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America (2007); and The War Conspiracy: JFK, 9/11, and the Deep Politics of War (2008 updated from 1972)

    In this 2015 interview, Professor Scott discusses the deadly programs [ starting at 10:25 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-QH9yOzhkio ] of the American Deep State.

    In a December 2015 interview with for Project Censored, the media research, education, and advocacy initiative, Professor Scott noted the key roles played by Saudi Arabia and Qatar in numerous “deep events”:

    “the oil companies are behind the special relationship that America has with Saudi Arabia and the United Emirates. It used to be with Qatar but that seems to be – Qatar and Saudi Arabia are at odds with each other because Saudi Arabia is really terrified of radical Muslims and they have good reason to be. They have a large Shia population. Qatar isn’t because it’s a tiny country and they have the goods on everybody. I suspect we’ll find there’s a much stronger connection between Qatar and ISIL. We’re pretending that they’re part of the alliance against it.

    “Qatar isn’t even really a state; it’s a family. And so is Saudi Arabia. It’s a royal family and there are factions within those families. We know that when Saudi Sheikh Mohammed, the so-called organizer of 9/11, who was in Qatar and the CIA came to get him out of there – what the 9/11 Report calls a ‘dissident member of the family’ let him know so that he was able to escape. Well, the dissident member of the family was the minister of the interior, so he’s not really all that dissident. But this whole mélange – and I have about three chapters about all the ways in which central figures of al Qaeda have been released, sometimes by the United States, sometimes by Qatar, sometimes by Saudi Arabia themselves – it’s all because these forces are useful at that level.”

  7. E. J. Gumbel
    February 14, 2016 at 3:38 am

    Something being overlooked here.

    Is “Deep State” a term that is inherently conspiracy- (or “covert action”-) acknowledging?

    The term, as originally used in Turkey, was a conspiracy (covert networks) terminology.

    The term was adopted by Peter Dale Scott, a conspiracy researcher.

    The term was stolen and subverted by former GOP Congressional analyst Mike Lofgren to be a non-conspiracy term referring to non-public-state influences on the public state: like the Koch Brothers or military contractors. Anti-democracy, but legal.

    This is a perversion of the original meaning.

    Lofgren’s use of the term completely eliminates any “covert action” meaning.

    The original meaning of “Deep State” creates an opportunity to legitimize talk of covert networking, by adapting an already-legitimate geopolitical term.

    The embracing of Lofgren’s alteration of the term has consequences.

    Bill Moyers and others in the mainstream media have embraced Mike Lofgren & Mike Lofgren’s use of the term. They have ignored Peter Dale Scott’s. They have ignored the Turkish meaning of the term.

    Is this an “acceptable” (to the Deep State) limited-hangout style co-opting of the term “Deep State”?

    Is the real Deep State more threatened & more interested in obscuring the covert networks discussion (and the legitimization of such a discussion via an authentic geopolitical vocabulary) than they are in avoiding talk of fascism? Is talk of fascism an acceptable trade-off?

    Would we find Lofgren able to use his version of “Deep State” to talk about Turkey’s Susurluk Scandal (one of Turkey’s original, and most stunning, “Deep State” scandals)?

    The answer is NO.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Susurluk_scandal

    It is alarming that the “covert networks” and “covert action” dimension of the term has been completely removed by Lofgren yet this is being embraced by figures ranging from Ray McGovern to Dave Emory.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_state

    • Abe
      February 14, 2016 at 7:17 pm

      Peter Dale Scott rejects the label of “conspiracy theory” and coined the phrase “deep politics” to describe his extensive investigations into the role of the “deep state”.

      http://understandingdeeppolitics.org/peter-dale-scott/

  8. Abe
    February 14, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Peter Dale Scott, “The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld,” The Asia-Pacific Journal, Volume 12, Issue 10, No. 5, March 10, 2014.
    http://apjjf.org/-Peter-Dale-Scott/4090/article.pdf

    The political activities of the deep state are the chief source and milieu of what I have elsewhere called “deep politics:” “all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged.”

    […]

    The “deep state” was defined by the UK newsletter On Religion as “the embedded antidemocratic power structures within a government, something very few democracies can claim to be free from.” The term originated in Turkey in 1996, to refer to U.S.-backed elements, primarily in the intelligence services and military, who had repeatedly used violence to interfere with and realign Turkey’s democratic political process. Sometimes the definition is restricted to elements within the government (or “a state-within-the state”), but more often in Turkey the term is expanded, for historical reasons, to include “members of the Turkish underworld.” In this essay I shall use “deep state” in the larger sense, to include both the second level of secret government inside Washington and those outsiders powerful enough, in either the underworld or overworld, to give it direction. In short I shall equate the term “deep state” with what in 1993 I termed a “deep political system:” “ one which habitually resorts to decision-making and enforcement procedures outside as well as inside those publicly sanctioned by law and society.” Like myself, Lofgren suggests an ambiguous symbiosis between two aspects of the American deep state:

    “1) the Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA , which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, and 2) the much older power of Wall Street, referring to the powerful banks and law firms located there.”

    In his words,

    “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.”

    I shall argue that in the 1950s Wall Street was a dominating complex. It included not just banks and oil firms but also the oil majors whose cartel arrangements were successfully defended against the U.S. Government by the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, home to the Dulles brothers. This larger complex is what I mean by the Wall Street overworld.

    […]

    A former Turkish president and prime minister once commented that the Turkish deep state was the real state, and the public state was only a “spare state,” not the real one. A better understanding of the American deep state is necessary, if we are to prevent it from assuming permanently the same role.

  9. Abe
    February 15, 2016 at 4:04 pm

    The late Sheldon S. Wolin, an American political philosopher and Professor of Politics, Emeritus, at Princeton University, is known for coining the term “inverted totalitarianism”.

    Wolin’s most famous work is Politics and Vision: Continuity and Innovation in Western Political Thought, expanded ed. (1960; Princeton University Press, 2004).

    In Democracy Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism (2008), Wolin presents an in-depth analysis of the dynamics of “Superpower” and “inverted totalitarianism” manifest in the American corporate state.

    “Inverted totalitarianism,” Sheldon observes, “while exploiting the authority and resources of the state, gains its dynamic by combining with other forms of power, such as evangelical religions, and most notably by encouraging a symbiotic relationship between traditional government and the system of “private” governance represented by the modern business corporation. The result is not a system of codetermination by equal partners who retain their distinctive identities but rather a system that represents the political coming-of-age of corporate power.” (p. xiii)

    In “The Dynamics of Transformation,” Chapter 6 of Democracy Incorporated, Wolin observes that “the condition for the ascendance of Superpower is the weakening or irrelevance of democracy and constitutionalism—except as mystifications enabling Superpower to fake a lineage that gives it legitimacy.”

    Wolin’s analysis (pp. 98-100) deserves a careful reading:

    A constitution, or rather its authoritative interpretation, may be made to legitimate powers originating elsewhere: in the changing character of class relations, economic structures, social mores, ideological and theological doctrines, or the emergence of powerful social movements (e.g., opposition to abortion rights). A constitution may also serve as the means of deflecting external powers: for example, a supreme court may zealously turn back “attacks” on property rights and business interests from the regulatory powers of state legislatures, as happened from roughly 1871 to 1914 in the United States. To cite another example: challenges to racial segregation were resisted by all branches of government and the two major political parties until the mid-twentieth century. Here transformation was resisted in favor of tactical acquiescence in change that, while acknowledging the emergence of new forces, signals adaptation to, not necessarily reconstitution of, the dominant powers.

    In theory a constitution prescribes a distinctive organization of power (e.g., a constitutional monarchy or a republic) and identifies the purposes for which power can be used legitimately. A constitutional form lends power shape, definition, and a genealogy (“We, the People . . . do ordain and establish this Constitution”). The portent of transformation is a lack of fit between power and authority. Authority sanctions, authorizes, the use of power (“The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes”) and sets limits (“but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States” (art. I, sec. 8, cl. 1). Yet, while Congress alone has the authority to declare war (art. I, sec. 8, cl. 11), that power was, in effect, preempted by the president in the war on Iraq, and Congress meekly capitulated.

    The technology of power, however, evolves more or less independently of constitutional conceptions of authority. In a society that strongly encourages technological innovation, definitions of constitutional authority tend to lag well behind the actual means of power and their capabilities. For example, the so-called war powers authorized by the American Constitution are invoked to justify the use of “weapons of mass destruction” capable of inflicting death and misery upon thou- sands of noncombatants, among them the populations of Dresden and Hiroshima. A war power may be authorized by a constitution drawn up more than two centuries ago, but “advances in weaponry” have altered dramatically the meaning of warfare without formally rewriting the authorization to use them.

    What does it mean to be “victorious” in the age of “shock and awe,” nuclear weapons, and global terrorism, or to “defend the nation” when it has become an empire? It is possible that the powers available to twenty-first-century rulers and to their terrorist foes are such as to outstrip the ability of fallible mortals to control their effects—and that may be what the jargon of “collateral damage” serves to obscure. When a constitutionally limited government utilizes weapons of horrendous destructive power, subsidizes their development, and becomes the world’s largest arms dealer, the Constitution is conscripted to serve as power’s apprentice rather than its conscience.

    Such considerations expose an underlying assumption of our Constitution. At the time of its formulation, the authors, as well as those who ratified the final document, naturally assumed that in the future the weapons of destruction would not be radically different from existing ones. But while it is in Superpower’s interest that the Constitution should appear unchanging, the technology of war has been revolutionized. The likely consequence of that imbalance is suggested in the summary remarks by the authors of a mainstream textbook in constitutional law:

    “The circumstances of nuclear warfare would, not improbably, bring about the total supplantation for an indefinite period of the forms of constitutional government by the drastic procedures of military government.”

    Accordingly, we need to broaden our definition of Superpower: power unanticipated by a constitutional mandate and exceeding the political abilities and moral sensibilities of those who employ it. Superpower does not automatically guarantee super(wo)men, only outsized temptations and ambitions.

    The formlessness of “Superpower” and “empire” that accompanies concentrated power of indefinite limits is subversive of the idea of constitutional democracy. Although, strictly speaking, traditional accounts of political forms do not anticipate superpower, some writers, notably Niccolo` Machiavelli (1469–1527) and James Harrington (1611–77), proposed a distinction between a political system content to preserve itself rather than expand and a political system, such as that of ancient Rome, eager to “increase” its power and domain. Applying that distinction, we might say that the United States combines both. In the view of those who venerate the “original Constitution,” the Founders had established a government of limited powers and modest ambitions. The constitution of Superpower, in contrast, is meant for “increase.” It is based not on the intentions of the framers but on the unlimited dynamic embodied in the system whereby capital, technology, and science furnish the sources of power. Accordingly, when certain reformers, such as environmental activists and anticloning advocates, seek to use constitutional authority to control the powers associated with the “constitution for increase” (e.g., regulating nuclear power plants or cloning labs) they find their efforts blocked by those who invoke the conception of a constitution as one of limited authority. But typically when representatives of the “constitution for increase” press for favors from those who man the “constitution for preservation,” they get their way. While Superpower’s constitution is shaped toward ever-increasing power, but has no inherent political authority, the constitution for preservation has limited authority while its actual power is dependent upon those who operate the constitution for increase. The two constitutions—one for expansion, the other for containment—form the two sides of inverted totalitarianism.

    According to Wolin, the rise of Superpower (the antithesis of constitutionalism) and the corresponding decline of democracy under inverted totalitarianism are systematized in the “managed democracy” of the American corporate state:

    “American rulers prefer to manage the population as would a corporate CEO, manipulatively, alternately soothing and dismissive, relying on the powerful resources of mass communication and the techniques of the advertising and public opinion industries. In the process the arts of “coercion” are refined. Physical threat remains but the main technique of control is to encourage a collective sense of dependence. The citizenry is kept at a distance, disengaged spectators watching events in the formats determined by an increasingly “embedded” media whose function is to render warfare “virtual,” sanitized, yet fascinating. To satisfy viewers with an urge for vicarious retaliation, for blood and gore, a parallel universe of action movies, computer war games, and television, saturated with images of violence and triumphalism, are but a click away.” (p. 107)

    Real investigative journalists such as Robert Parry expose this empire of “mystifications”.

  10. Olivia
    February 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you Abe for your insight on our Deep State versus the constitution.

  11. Thomas McGovern
    February 22, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    It seems to me that this essay misses the elephant in the middle of the room. What about the Fed and, more broadly, the whole system of privately-owned central banks with the privately-owned BIS on top of the heap? Is that not the nexus of power for the global elite?

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