Steve Bannon’s Apocalyptic ‘Unravelling’

Donald Trump’s upbeat slogan is “Make America Great Again,” but his chief strategist Steve Bannon sees apocalyptic days ahead, a harsh winter before society’s renewal, writes ex-British diplomat Alastair Crooke.

By Alastair Crooke

Steve Bannon is accustomed to start many of his talks to activists and Tea Party gatherings in the following way: “At 11 o’clock on 18 September 2008, Hank Paulson and Ben Bernanke told the U.S. President that they had already stove-piped $500 billions of liquidity into the financial system during the previous 24 hours – but needed a further one Trillion dollars, that same day.

Steve Bannon, White House strategist for President Donald Trump. (Photo from YouTube)

“The pair said that if they did not get it immediately, the U.S. financial system would implode within 72 hours; the world’s financial system, within three weeks; and that social unrest and political chaos could ensue within the month.” (In the end, Bannon notes, it was more like $5 trillion that was required, though no one really knows how much, as there has been no accounting for all these trillions).

“We (the U.S.) have”, he continues, “in the wake of the bailouts that ensued, liabilities of $200 trillions, but net assets – including everything – of some $50-60 trillion.” (Recall that Bannon is himself a former Goldman Sachs banker).

“We are upside down; the industrial democracies today have a problem we have never had before; we are over-leveraged (we have to go through a massive de-leveraging); and we have built a welfare state which is completely and totally unsupportable.

“And why this is a crisis … the problem … is that the numbers have become so esoteric that even the guys on Wall Street, at Goldman Sachs, the guys I work with, and the Treasury guys … It’s so tough to get this together … Trillion dollar deficits … etcetera.”

But, Bannon says — in spite of all these esoteric, unimaginable numbers wafting about — the Tea Party women (and it is mainly led by women, he points out) get it. They know a different reality: they know what groceries now cost, they know their kids have $50,000 in college debt, are still living at home, and see no jobs in prospect: “The reason I called the film Generation Zero is because this generation, the guys in their 20s and 30s: We’ve wiped them out.”

And it’s not just Bannon. A decade earlier, in 2000, Donald Trump was writing in a very similar vein in a pamphlet that marked his first toying with the prospect of becoming a Presidential candidate: “My third reason for wanting to speak out is that I see not only incredible prosperity … but also the possibility of economic and social upheaval … Look towards the future, and if you are like me, you will see storm clouds brewing. Big Trouble. I hope I am wrong, but I think we may be facing an economic crash like we’ve never seen before.”

And before the recent presidential election, Donald Trump kept to this same narrative: the stock market was dangerously inflated. In an interview on CNBC, he said, “I hope I’m wrong, but I think we’re in a big, fat, juicy bubble,” adding that conditions were so perilous that the country was headed for a “very massive recession” and that “if you raise interest rates even a little bit, (everything’s) going to come crashing down.”

The Paradox

And here, precisely, is the paradox: Why — if Trump and Bannon view the economy as already over-leveraged, excess-bubbled, and far too fragile to accommodate even a small interest rate rise — has Trump (in Mike Whitney’s words) “promised  … more treats and less rules for Wall Street … tax cuts, massive government spending, and fewer regulations … $1 trillion in fiscal stimulus to rev up consumer spending and beef up corporate profits … to slash corporate tax rates and fatten the bottom line for America’s biggest businesses. And he’s going to gut Dodd-Frank, the ‘onerous’ regulations that were put in place following the 2008 financial implosion, to prevent another economy-decimating cataclysm.”

President Donald Trump delivering his inaugural address on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from

Does President Trump see the world differently, now that he is President? Or has he parted company with Bannon’s vision?

Though Bannon is often credited – though most often, by a hostile press, aiming to present Trump (falsely) as the “accidental President” who never really expected to win – as the intellectual force behind President Trump. In fact, Trump’s current main domestic and foreign policies were all presaged, and entirely present, in Trump’s 2000 pamphlet.

In 2000, Bannon was less political, screenwriter Julia Jones, a long-time Bannon collaborator, notes. “But the Sept. 11 attacks,” Ms. Jones says, “changed him” and their Hollywood collaboration did not survive his growing engagement with politics.

Bannon himself pins his political radicalization to his experience of the 2008 Great Financial Crisis. He detested how his Goldman colleagues mocked the Tea Party’s “forgotten” ones. As Ms. Jones sees it, a more reliable key to Bannon’s worldview lies in his military service.

“He has a respect for duty,” she said in early February. “The word he has used a lot is ‘dharma.’” Mr. Bannon found the concept of dharma in the Bhagavad Gita, she recalls. It can describe one’s path in life or one’s place in the universe.

There is no evidence, however, that President Trump either has changed his economic views or that he has diverged in his understanding of the nature of the crisis facing America (and Europe).

Tests Ahead

Both men are very smart. Trump understands business, and Bannon finance. They surely know the headwinds they face: the looming prospect of a wrangle to increase the American $20 trillion “debt ceiling” (which begins to bite on March 15), amid a factious Republican Party, the improbability of the President’s tax or fiscal proposals being enacted quickly, and the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will hike interest rates, “until something breaks.” If they are so smart, what then is going on?

The run-down PIX Theatre sign reads “Vote Trump” on Main Street in Sleepy Eye, Minnesota. July 15, 2016. (Photo by Tony Webster Flickr)

What Bannon has brought to the partnership however, is a clear articulation of the nature of this “crisis” in his Generation Zero film, which explicitly is built around the framework of a book called The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy, written in 1997 by Neil Howe and William Strauss.

In the words of one of the co-authors, the analysis “rejects the deep premise of modern Western historians that social time is either linear (continuous progress or decline) or chaotic (too complex to reveal any direction). Instead we adopt the insight of nearly all traditional societies: that social time is a recurring cycle in which events become meaningful only to the extent that they are what philosopher Mircea Eliade calls ‘reenactments.’ In cyclical space, once you strip away the extraneous accidents and technology, you are left with only a limited number of social moods, which tend to recur in a fixed order.”

Howe and Strauss write: “The cycle begins with the First Turning, a ‘High’ which comes after a crisis era. In a High, institutions are strong and individualism is weak. Society is confident about where it wants to go collectively, even if many feel stifled by the prevailing conformity.

“The Second Turning is an ‘Awakening,’ when institutions are attacked in the name of higher principles and deeper values. Just when society is hitting its high tide of public progress, people suddenly tire of all the social discipline and want to recapture a sense of personal authenticity.

“The Third Turning is an ‘Unravelling,’ in many ways the opposite of the High. Institutions are weak and distrusted, while individualism is strong and flourishing.

“Finally, the Fourth Turning is a ‘Crisis’ period. This is when our institutional life is reconstructed from the ground up, always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. If history does not produce such an urgent threat, Fourth Turning leaders will invariably find one — and may even fabricate one — to mobilize collective action. Civic authority revives, and people and groups begin to pitch in as participants in a larger community. As these Promethean bursts of civic effort reach their resolution, Fourth Turnings refresh and redefine our national identity.” (Emphasis added).

Woodstock Generation

Bannon’s film focuses principally on the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, and on the “ideas” that arose amongst the “Woodstock generation” (the Woodstock musical festival occurred in 1969), that permeated, in one way or another, throughout American and European society.

The Wall Street bull statue by Arturo Di Modica

The narrator calls the Woodstock generation the “Children of Plenty.” It was a point of inflection: a second turning “Awakening”; a discontinuity in culture and values. The older generation (that is, anyone over 30) was viewed as having nothing to say, nor any experience to contribute. It was the elevation of the “pleasure principle” (as a “new” phenomenon, as “their” discovery), over the puritan ethic; It celebrated doing one’s own thing; it was about “Self” and narcissism.

The “Unravelling” followed in the form of government and institutional weakness: the “system” lacked the courage to take difficult decisions. The easy choices invariably were taken: the élites absorbed the self-centered, spoilt-child, ethos of the “me” generation. The 1980s and 1990s become the era of “casino capitalism” and the “Davos man.”

The lavish taxpayer bailouts of the U.S. banks after the Mexican, Russian, Asian and Argentinian defaults and crises washed away the bankers’ costly mistakes. The 2004 Bear Stearns exemption which allowed the big five banks to leverage their lending above 12:1 – and, which quickly extended to become 25:1, 30:1 and even 40:1 – permitted the irresponsible risk-taking and the billions in profit-making. The “Dot Com” bubble was accommodated by monetary policy – and then the massive 2008 bailouts accommodated the banks, yet again.

The “Unravelling” was essentially a cultural failure: a failure of responsibility, of courage to face hard choices – it was, in short, the film suggests, an era of spoilt institutions, compromised politicians and irresponsible Wall Streeters – the incumbent class – indulging themselves, and “abdicating responsibility.”

Now we have entered the “Fourth Turning”: “All the easy choices are back of us.” The “system” still lacks courage. Bannon says this period will be the “nastiest, ugliest in history.” It will be brutal, and “we” (by which he means the Trump Tea Party activists) will be “vilified.” This phase may last 15 – 20 years, he predicts.

Greek Tragedy

The key to this Fourth Turning is “character.” It is about values. What Bannon means by “our crisis” is perhaps best expressed when the narrator says: “the essence of Greek tragedy is that it is not like a traffic accident, where somebody dies [i.e. the great financial crises didn’t just arise by mischance].

President Barack Obama

The Greek sense is that tragedy is where something happens because it has to happen, because of the nature of the participants. Because the people involved, make it happen. And they have no choice to make it happen, because that’s their nature.”

This is the deeper implication of what transpired from Woodstock: the nature of people changed. The “pleasure principle,” the narcissism, had displaced the “higher” values that had made America what it was. The generation that believed that there was “no risk, no mountain they could not climb” brought this crisis upon themselves. They wiped out 200 years of financial responsibility in about 20 years. This, it appears, captures the essence of Bannon’s thinking.

That is where we are, Bannon asserts: Stark winter inevitably follows, after a warm, lazy summer. It becomes a time of testing, of adversity. Each season in nature has its vital function. Fourth turnings are necessary: they a part of the cycle of renewal.

Bannon’s film concludes with author Howe declaring: “history is seasonal and winter is coming,”

And, what is the immediate political message? It is simple, the narrator of Bannon’s film says: “STOP”: stop doing what you were doing. Stop spending like before. Stop taking on spending commitments that cannot be afforded. Stop mortgaging your children’s future with debt. Stop trying to manipulate the banking system. It is a time for tough thinking, for saying “no” to bailouts, for changing the culture, and re-constructing institutional life.

Cultural Legacy

And how do you re-construct civic life? You look to those who still possess a sense of duty and responsibility – who have retained a cultural legacy of values. It is noticeable that when Bannon addresses the activists, almost the first thing he does is to salute the veterans and serving officers, and praise their qualities, their sense of duty.

A sign supporting Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016 (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

It is no surprise then that President Trump wants to increase both the veterans’ and the military’s budget. It is not so much a portent of U.S. military belligerence, but more that he sees them as warriors for the coming “winter” of testing and adversity. Then, and only then does Bannon speak to the “thin blue line” of activists who still have strength of character, a sense of responsibility, of duty. He tells them that the future rests in their hands, alone.

Does this sound like men – Bannon and Trump – who want to ramp up a fresh financial bubble, to indulge the Wall Street casino (in their words)? No? So, what is going on?

They know “the crisis” is coming. Let us recall what Neil Howe wrote in the Washington Post concerning the “Fourth Turning”:

“This is when our institutional life is reconstructed from the ground up, always in response to a perceived threat to the nation’s very survival. If history does not produce such an urgent threat, Fourth Turning leaders will invariably find one — and may even fabricate one — to mobilize collective action. Civic authority revives, and people and groups begin to pitch in as participants in a larger community. As these Promethean bursts of civic effort reach their resolution, Fourth Turnings refresh and redefine our national identity.”

Trump has no need to “fabricate” a financial crisis. It will happen “because it has to happen, because of the nature of the participants (in the current ‘system’). Because the people involved, make it happen. And they have no choice to make it happen, because that’s their nature.”

It is not even President Obama’s or Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson’s fault, per se. They are just who they are.

Trump and Bannon therefore are not likely trying to ignite the “animal spirits” of the players in the financial “casino” (as many in the financial sphere seem to assume). If Bannon’s film and Trump’s articulation of crisis mean anything, it is that their aim is to ignite the “animal spirits” of “the working-class casualties and those forgotten Americans” of the Midwest, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

At that point, they hope that the “thin blue line” of activists will “pitch in” with a Promethean burst of civic effort which will reconstruct America’s institutional and economic life.

If this is so, the Trump/Bannon vision both is audacious – and quite an extraordinary gamble …

Alastair Crooke is a former British diplomat who was a senior figure in British intelligence and in European Union diplomacy. He is the founder and director of the Conflicts Forum.

97 comments for “Steve Bannon’s Apocalyptic ‘Unravelling’

  1. March 11, 2017 at 23:11

    Excellent reading of participants and times, Mr Crooke!
    Thank you.

  2. J'hon Doe II
    March 11, 2017 at 13:58

    From the Prometheus “gift of fire” to gun powder to the Manhattan project, ways and means of self destruction have marched in lock step with “Progress”.
    The brutal, ruthless treatment of Native American water protecters illuminates the Power of Evil over Good.
    It strengthens and insures the old GE commercial veracity of “Progress is Our Most Important Product”

    Oil grew from Black Gold into chemical by-products that now pollute landfills and oceans.
    We find ourselves, humankind, at the edge of Genetically Modified Foods as sustenance, filling our bodies with chemically engineered Franken-food. From basic fire to nuclear arsenals.This is the continuing progression into darkness and death
    — which has now reached the stars above us;


    Light wars: space-based lasers among Beijing’s hi-tech arms. Arsenal including electromagnetic railguns and microwave weapons aims to neutralize web of satellites that give US its main strategic edge

    MARCH 10, 2017

    China’s military is developing powerful lasers, electromagnetic railguns and high-power microwave weapons for use in a future “light war” involving space-based attacks on satellites.

    Beijing’s push to produce so-called directed-energy weapons aims to neutralize America’s key strategic advantage: the web of intelligence, communication and navigation satellites enabling military strikes of unparalleled precision expeditionary warfare far from US shores.

    The idea of a space-based laser gun was disclosed in the journal Chinese Optics in December 2013 by three researchers, Gao Ming-hui, Zeng Yu-quang and Wang Zhi-hong. All work for the Changchun Institute for Optics, Fine Mechanics and Physics – the leading center for laser weapons technology.

    “In future wars, the development of ASAT [anti-satellite] weapons is very important,” they wrote. “Among those weapons, laser attack system enjoys significant advantages of fast response speed, robust counter-interference performance and a high target destruction rate, especially for a space-based ASAT system. So the space-based laser weapon system will be one of the major ASAT development projects.”

  3. March 11, 2017 at 08:20

    I like the analysis presented in this article on many levels. I also like that Crooke doesn’t seem to have his own opinion weighing heavy in the piece and is rather trying to paint a picture and then show us the Trump/Bannon perspective on that picture. Near the end Crooke states:

    “At that point, they hope that the “thin blue line” of activists will “pitch in” with a Promethean burst of civic effort which will reconstruct America’s institutional and economic life. If this is so, the Trump/Bannon vision both is audacious – and quite an extraordinary gamble … ”

    I agree with Crooke that this is a huge gamble.

    I wonder if Crooke was insinuating that Trump/Bannon want to throw gasoline on what they (especially Bannon) view as an inevitable fire that is already raging and could never be put out. I think he was. Reminds me of the Christians who now support Zionism in Israel during the 3rd act because they envision that by act 4 the Jewish people have “exited stage right.”

    In my experience, the activists spoken of in this piece (and the Tea Party folk) are not big on civic contribution without personal benefit. They want to be taxed less to add to their personal stock piles at home (for the coming crisis). Their civic efforts are the height of narcissism which is oddly enough comparable to that of the Woodstock “me-monster.” How hilarious it is to see how similar the motives are of both these generational sub-cultures! Both the Tea Party and the Woodstockers cloaked themselves in the idea that they had the antidote for the ills of society and both believed they were truly looking out for the greater good.

    All they looked out for was themselves.

    What the world needs now is precisely what the Woodstockers pretended to be about while they wasted away on drugs, abundance and hypocrisy – the world needs love. And love is within, so we must find it there first if we are ever to be able to manifest it into the world. Has anyone noticed that we do not elect people to represent us who live on spiritual principles??

    We don’t. We don’t elect Martin Luther King types in America.

    Instead we prop up a choice between a man who brags of “grabbing p_ssies” and a woman who has become so hawkish she makes one wonder if Dr. Strangelove would’ve benn a more sane Presidential candidate in 2017. We must change within to have any chance to change the world around us.

  4. Mark Petersen
    March 10, 2017 at 23:30

    That is quite simply the biggest crock of dung I have ever read.

  5. Newton Finn
    March 10, 2017 at 13:55

    In response to the shattering experience of WWI, one of the great polymaths and humanitarians of the 20th Century, Albert Schweitzer, wrote a now-forgotten masterpiece called “The Philosophy of Civilization.” In this philosophical work addressed not to the academy but to all of us, he piercingly analyzed and accurately predicted the downward trajectory of Western Civilization. He also clearly explained the only way out of our tragic predicament, calling for a New Enlightenment based upon the elemental, universal value of reverence for life. It was this man and this book that inspired Rachel Carson to launch the environmental movement from her deathbed with “Silent Spring.” And it is this man and this book which we need so desperately to ponder right now to lift our hearts and minds and learn again to believe in the human spirit and the possibility of continuing progress in human civilization. A good companion read in this regard is “Looking Backward” by Edward Bellamy, again largely forgotten although it was the third most popular book of the late 19th Century after “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” and “Ben-Hur.” We’ve wallowed long enough in pessimism and futility, endlessly condemning the gross evils of global neoliberal capitalism. It’s time to dream big dreams, worthy of who we are, and join those already at work to build a new, more beautiful world. Nothing can stop the human spirit when it summons its fullness and power. Nothing. So I ask myself and you as well: Are we mice (no disrespect meant to the little creatures) or men and women who believe, even against all odds, in themselves and in their future?

  6. ThisOldMan
    March 10, 2017 at 10:40

    The “history may not repeat but often rhymes” cliche has been around long before Trump & Bannon, but our time is obviously different in at least three respects: (1) The population today is greater than the number of people who ever lived prior to about the Renaissance; (2) Climate Change and other forms of global environmental degradation are reducing the carrying capacity of the earth for all species including even our own fossil-fuel-supercharged one; (3) Peak conventional oil has already come and gone, and the EROEI (Energy Return On Energy Invested) of what’s left is rapidly rising.

    In any case, this article makes it sound like Trump & Bannon are doing everything they can to bring about the great collapse sooner rather than later, even though it concludes otherwise. If so, they are the ultimate hypocrites. I am not at all religious but the anti-Christ seems like a suitable allegory.

  7. Michael Morrissey
    March 10, 2017 at 07:02

    Interesting to compare notes with those who can recall August 1969, and even more interesting for those who can to compare themselves, then and now. As far as I can tell from what I know of the bios of a few who come to mind, like Crooke, Trump, Bush 2, Clinton (1), Bannon, none of them were in the trenches (so to speak) on either side of the Vietnam war. I remember that time quite differently from the Woodstock image. It was a time of clarity. Either you were for the war or against it. And yet the aforesaid and many of the other “opinion-makers” today seem to have eluded that moment of clarity.

    • Sam F
      March 10, 2017 at 09:25

      Yes, they had to make America great by giving the USSR it’s own Vietnam in Afghanistan and everywhere else, buying and destroying the tools of democracy (unbought elections and mass media), spying on everyone at all times, and making war on democracy and socialism around the world, to cover up the complete corruption of the US government. No wonder that they had to rely upon secret agencies and propaganda to trick the public. There is no worse traitor than he who waves the flag and praises the lord and makes war upon humanity for personal gain, instead of working for understanding and progress.

      Now we have the broadest gangsterism masquerading as nationalism, the true Nazi spirit is alive across the land. Few have the courage to tell the truth, or even to permit the truth to be heard, for they know that they if they do, they will be attacked with lies and reduced to poverty. Sich Heil! America is great!

    • David
      March 10, 2017 at 18:04

      To be fair, Bannon was only 16 years old in 1969, so I would not have expected him to be in the trenches on either side.

  8. Secret Agent
    March 10, 2017 at 04:03

    Obama set the demolition charges, at least Bannon knows they are there and has a plan for the aftermath.

    Two basic facts to consider:

    The American Empire is over extended.

    The average life of a fiat currency is 40 years. You are at about 45 years.

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  10. fudmier
    March 9, 2017 at 23:56

    oil is in demand because U. S. A. global warriors are all over the world.

    bring the troops home, close the foreign military bases, neither import nor export oil to or from America. ..
    let prices fall, including wages, the Federal reserve bankrupt, do away with corporate monopoly
    in the form of copyright, patents and licenses. Real production from real competition will be the result
    as the paper money people crumble and take their well deserved special places in the bread line; leave it
    to the blue collar man and the technical genius that keeps the blue collar machinery running to pay the taxes
    that support the bread line that now feed the once criminally proud WALL STREET has beens and their
    corrupt banking buddies. My view is that a gallon gas should cost $.27(twenty-seven cents)/gallon again;
    a nickel should buy a whole meal at the best of joints, and the national debt disappears into bankruptcy as the
    tax base that runs the cost of living up disappears.

  11. Typingperson
    March 9, 2017 at 23:52

    I thought this piece was going to be about Steve Bannon himself unraveling on an apocalyptic scale. I am disappointed. : (

    • David
      March 10, 2017 at 17:57

      LOL! Best laugh I have had all day!

  12. March 9, 2017 at 23:19

    Realist, thank you for your post, many points to ponder!

  13. March 9, 2017 at 21:43

    Bannon is not alone in predicting collapse and is giving the reasons an intellectual whitewash. I’ve not seen his film, but it doesn’t sound like it really gets to the heart of the matter, which is greed, over-militarization, and simply, waste. Humans are absolutely unprecedented in trashing their environment, no other animal comes even close or ever will, sorry, Seer, I don’t buy that argument.

  14. March 9, 2017 at 19:31

    Obviously “climate change” will occur, that’s the story of earth. The dinosaurs, largest animal ever on this planet, were here for 180 million years, and they’re gone, and the meteor theory is still not proven. The point is, denying human effect on environment or saying that, well, it happens all the time, is merely an excuse to justify one’s behavior. The ocean is loaded with plastic and now radiation from a nuclear accident, and if the ocean dies, we’re also dead. Humans do have the capacity to understand and take action for their own behavior. I do consider myself a moral being and will not make excuses for my behavior!

    • Seer
      March 9, 2017 at 20:50

      All ANIMALS trash their environment. I’m not looking to make excuses, I’m just trying to point out reality. People, animals, will continue to do as they’ve done until they can no longer do.

      We can hold off the inevitable but we cannot keep it from happening. How much energy/effort would be required to make an impact, an impact that is likely going to be tough, if not impossible, to really measure? Any such effort WILL result in massive loss of life.

      Morality is all fine and dandy, until you’re starving to death.

      As big of a piece of shit as Bannon is, he’s essentially right. Problem is is that he is either ignorant of the real reasons or he’s another big liar…

      • Realist
        March 9, 2017 at 21:34

        Animals get away with it because there are a multitude of checks on their population–predators, famines, infectious diseases, toxin-contaminated foods, intra-species violence between competing males and between competing bands of animals, environmental catastrophes like floods, forest fires, hurricanes, and even earthquakes… all those sorts of things generally prevent animal populations from getting so large that they despoil more than a small corner of their habitat.

        Using our clever minds, humans have transcended those limits long ago. But cleverness is not wisdom and, out of greed and lack of foresight, and often from a stubborn unwillingness to take advice from among the truly knowledgeable and wise amongst our species, we have allowed our population to grow beyond all reason. We have, through blind competition, taken as much as we can not only from other groups within our species but from most of the other species that populated the planet before our kind arrived. We’ve driven hundreds, if not thousands of other species to extinction, and reduced others to tiny relict populations.

        In the process we have filled the oceans, the rivers, the lakes, the soil and the air with gargantuan measures of human-generated waste, some so toxic, like Plutonium, that it will extinguish whatever life it comes into contact with. We justify creating such poisons, totally unknown to this planet (not among the naturally-occurring 92 elements on the Periodic Table), by claiming they afford us convenient energy production, though they were the spin-offs of total scorched earth warfare. We further pollute our environment with deadly elements like U-238 (depleted Uranium) purposely and directly in more scorched earth warfare that we say is essential to some set of principles by which we live and organise our society.

        The fact is that all these things are, against the backdrop of our complex brains harboring both primitive reptilian instincts and glorious pure logic and reason (read Sagan’s “The Dragons of Eden”), the products of intense pressures induced through massive overpopulation by humans of this planet. The oceans would not be full of toxins and plastics all the way to the bottom of the Mariannas Trench, and not just confined to the two “garbage patch” gyres in the Pacific which have become so storied in recent years.

        How we deal with this ultimate cause for most of this planet’s (and our species’) woes will become the crux of the matter to the end of this century. We can begin reducing our numbers (by a lot) using humane measured birth control, or we can allow war, famine, disease and all the other age-old “remedies” that have acted upon every other species on earth since time immemorial. What’s it to be? Revise some of our superstition-based religious teachings and control our natural urges that are of benefit only in an unexploited bountiful environment not yet colonised by humans, or suffer the consequences of a hard stop to all growth, even to a subsistence existence because we refuse to limit our numbers, what we take from the earth, and what we cavalierly discard as unwanted waste?

        • March 10, 2017 at 02:52

          Excellent article. Religion plays a big part in the over-population factor being forced upon many by their religious beliefs. Pope Francis is doing his part by suggesting that birth control is OK! He is being criticized for his beliefs. Any politician who uses his religion to promote bad policies should be reminded about the separation of church and state.

        • KB Gloria
          March 10, 2017 at 12:27

          Thank you, Realist! Left to itself and non-human animals to themselves, the earth does not burn and boil! All animals trash their environment indeed–big time BS statement.

      • David
        March 10, 2017 at 17:55

        “All ANIMALS trash their environment.”

        What an absurd statement.

        How exactly do animals trash their environment?

        If the animal population gets too large will they eat all the food and then starve to death later? Yes. Does the food grow back after the animals die off? Yes. So, not exactly trashing their environment, huh?

        Have animals ever made an area of land uninhabitable?

  15. Seer
    March 9, 2017 at 19:10

    I think that the world would be a lot better off it people would read Sir John Glubb’s The Fate of Empires, as well as reading or watching presentations by Dr. Albert Bartlett. (all of this is available off of the Internet)

    Glubb’s review of empires is essential in understanding the trajectory of civilizations. He failed to discover why every empire is destined to collapse. That answer, I believe, can be found in Dr Albert Barlett’s works. The commonality lies in the pursuit of growth, and given the fact of us operating on a finite planet presents us with the mathematical certainty that growth cannot be sustained indefinitely. No matter what leadership or ideology is in place it will not be able to overcome reality/nature. Our social structures have blinded us from understanding the finiteness of the world we live in (though it’s getting harder and harder to keep a lid on this “secret”); the power brokers will not let on that they cannot guarantee a future for us in return for our devotion; it is this “deal” that has kept it all together. The “confidence” in our monetary system is basically our “confidence” in our governing systems; if this is lost, which is destined to happen as available resources diminish (note that ALL wars are about resources- many reasons for going to war are cloaked in more or less superficial stories, stories that keep people from understanding the real reasons), then the control structure that protects the power brokers is taken out.

    Someone mentioned the threat of climate change. Well, yeah, it’s happening; BUT, it will happen regardless- the earth has it’s own cycles- read John D. Hammaker’s The Survival of Civilization (Hammaker thought that humans might be able to stem the tide).

    Human hubris, perhaps the eight great wonder of the world…

  16. J'hon Doe II
    March 9, 2017 at 18:54

    (The Descent Into the Maelstrom)

    Well of Democritus:
    According to legend, the well of Democritus was bottomless. It should also be noted that Democritus, a contemporary of Socrates and Plato, is known for laying the foundation for the modern atomic theory, declaring that matter cannot be destroyed but merely changes from one form to another.

  17. March 9, 2017 at 18:34

    And where has Bannon, Trump, Obama, Clinton, or any other faction of government mentioned the massive transfer of wealth to the top tier of society, the creation of a new Gilded Age, a new cohort of Robber Barons since the Age of Reagan?

    Add to that the inability of humans anywhere on earth to acknowledge that there are massive ecological problems from industrialization’s assault on the environment in the name of progress, proposing nothing solutions like carbon offsets, instead of facing the fact that radical change in human behavior at the individual and societal level is urgently needed.

  18. Joe Tedesky
    March 9, 2017 at 17:30

    I wasn’t even 20 years old when I knew our country was heading in the wrong direction with our military spending, and I’m now 67 years old. I first heard of Woodstock while I was laid up in bed on our ships sick bay. Of all the people my age I know I only know one guy who was at Woodstock. So if I must be part of the Woodstock generation well then pass the bong, although we rolled our joints back then, but let’s get naked and get high….seriously most of my generation didn’t turn up or tune out. Many of us were busy trying to get ahead, and many of us thought at the time we should serve our country. I’m not bad mouthing the hippies I’m just trying to not stereotype a whole generation of people for what it’s worth.

    Trump and Bannon are turning out to be typical politicians. These people will say and do anything to get your vote, but once in office they and their friends feed themselves well at the national trough. Can you blame them, well yes, but traditions being what they are their greed fest has become part of the job. I honestly believe these creatures of deception feel it is their duty to enrich themselves, or something.

    The biggest rip off began in 1913 with the middle of the night vote to institute a Federal Reseve. That was when America handed it’s wallet over to the banks. Read Smedley Butler for the rest of what I have to say, because this is a comment and not a book.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 9, 2017 at 17:48

      Read this….

      Make a pot of coffee because it’s a lot to read, but it is worth it.

    • John
      March 9, 2017 at 20:20

      Joe, lol……you are very aware……The Donald is 25+ years too late……The adjustment should have been made at half time…..we are now in the last 3.5 minutes of the 4th quarter……..very sorry to say…….

      • Tannenhouser
        March 11, 2017 at 19:32

        Maybe we need Tom Brady then….:)

    • KB Gloria
      March 10, 2017 at 12:23

      Hooray for Smedley Butler–good on you to mention!

  19. Realist
    March 9, 2017 at 17:25

    “We (the U.S.) have”, he continues, “in the wake of the bailouts that ensued, liabilities of $200 trillions, but net assets – including everything – of some $50-60 trillion.”

    What did we expect would happen when we create money by issuing debt… debt piggybacked upon pre-existing debt, built upon pre-existing debt, ad infinitum, especially when those issuing the debt knew it wouldn’t, it couldn’t be paid back in many cases? That’s okay, just carry it on the books, transfer it to institutional investors, to little people dupes, and finally to the government as a last resort, and go on pretending that we are creating wealth. That is, and has been, a con game to transfer all the real wealth of our nation (its land and resources) to the originators of that bad paper–the top fraction of the 1%. It never stopped under Obama when the lession should have been learned. And it won’t stop under Trump until actual economic and societal collapse comes. Demonizing Russia is just a distraction and device for fashioning a scapegoat when the day of reckoning arrives and the billionaires on Wall Street helicopter off the roofs of their Manhattan lairs, like some recreation of the last hours in Saigon, away to their fortified redoubts up in the mountains or far away at sea until World War Z resolves itself and the survivors evolve into useful compliant drones willing to do anything to fill their belly. The real world will not end like a Monopoly game where all the players repair to the kitchen for some snacks. When the “winners” in the greater world end up with all of its wealth, there will be real dire consequences to the rest of us. If we were serious about survival in the aftermath of collapse, we’d be reading and following Dmitry Orlov’s advice, but I doubt there is enough lead time left. Most of the worker drones tied to their families, homes and jobs really don’t have the option to go survivalist at this late date. America seems destined to go through its dark age when the standard of living falls to that of Bangladesh for most citizens. These are smart people doing the analyses. They can extrapolate the data for the real world just as well as they can apply Sabermetrics to sports and predict outcomes within a reasonable degree of probability. Frequent the Zero Hedge website where you will get a higher dose of such analysis than we do here. It ain’t pretty. Words may lie, but numbers do not.

  20. MMT is the KEY
    March 9, 2017 at 17:08

    Neoliberalism is OUT-DATED. Rather, for the past four decades, it’s been fiat currency for the .01% and gold standard straitjacket ideology for everyone else.

    “The mainstream view is no longer valid for countries issuing their own non-convertible currencies and only has meaning for those operating under fixed exchange rate regimes,

    ‘The two monetary systems are very different. You cannot apply the economics of the gold standard (or USD convertibility) to the modern monetary system. Unfortunately, most commentators and professors and politicians continue to use the old logic when discussing the current policy options. It is a basic fallacy and prevents us from having a sensible discussion about what the government should be doing. All the fear-mongering about the size of the deficit and the size of the borrowings (and the logic of borrowing in the first place) are all based on the old paradigm. They are totally inapplicable to the fiat monetary system’ (Mitchell, 2009).

    We might now consider the opportunity afforded by the new monetary reality, effectively modelled by MMT. A new socio-political reality is possible which throws off the shackles of the old. The government can now act as a currency issuer and pursue public purpose. Functional finance is now the order of the day. For most nations, issuing their own fiat currency under floating exchange rates the situation is different to the days of fixed exchange rates. Since the gold window closed a different core reality exists – one which, potentially at least, provides governments with significantly more scope to enact policies which benefit society.

    However, the political layer, in the way it interacts with monetary reality, has a detrimental effect on the power of democratic governments to pursue public purpose. In the new monetary reality political arrangements that sprang up under the old regimes are no longer necessary or beneficial. They can largely be considered as self-imposed constraints on the system; in short the political layer contains elements which are out-of-date, ideologically biased and unnecessary. However, mainstream economists have not grasped this situation – or perhaps they cannot allow themselves to- because of the vice-like grip that their ethics and ‘traditional’ training has on them.

    MMT provides the best monetary models out there and highlights the existence of additional policy space acquired by sovereign states since Nixon closed the gold window and most nations adopted floating exchange rates. We just need to encourage the use of the space to enhance the living standards of ordinary people.”

    Heterodox Views of Money and Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) by Phil Armstrong (York College) 2015

  21. John
    March 9, 2017 at 16:56

    The “winter” of the system is well on it’s way and I blame the well connected 1% elite…..It is a world wide system of “pay to play” because the well connected know winter is already here….so they do what they do best, ravage and plunder…..The regular folks are bomb blasted daily by slight of hand non sense news from the MSM that numbs their ability to comprehend reality….Inflamed emotions stifles reasonable thinking…….The hybrid homo sapien is a failed project…..

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 9, 2017 at 17:51

      Very well said John

  22. Rob Mansell
    March 9, 2017 at 16:50

    Hummm……First things first…..I see a false dichotomy here. Individualism and Institutional strength are not defined (elsewhere with consensus) as opposing ends of any real dichotomy. I would argue that any negative correlations between the two could be altered by aligning the two axes culturally, instead of treating them as opposing directions along a singular axis.

    This sounds a lot like the old veneer of “traditional values” being restated in terms of a faux progression within a deficit model. If the argument were focused on the role developing one’s self to the point of realizing the simple underlying point of John Nash’s contributions to economics (“The Best for the Group comes when everyone in the group does what’s best for himself AND the group”), well that is a different angle; and not one that is likely to map onto the policies, values, and beliefs of this particular branch of conservative agenda. The veneer is so very thin now, I cant help but wonder at the particle board that seems to be beneath. The dots are explained away, one by one, but the line is as apparent as the mountain standing before me.

    • Rob Mansell
      March 9, 2017 at 16:51

      “The role of”

    • J'hon Doe II
      March 9, 2017 at 18:31

      First paragraph is Ayn Rand’s gospel and John Nash produced Game Theory, the formula for M. A. D. (Mutually Assured Destruction.

      We’re in a real devolving cycle in this 21st century. (The Descent Into the Maelstrom)

  23. Bobbie Stewart
    March 9, 2017 at 15:05

    Bannon’s solutions as outlined as a response to the Fourth Turning is a precise description of the methods utilized by Totalitarian Leaders as documented by Hannah Arendt in “Origins of Totalitarianism”. What Bannon fails to mention is that the goal of Totalitarianism is to change the “nature” of man through complete domination – that’s what the concentration camps were all about -a testing ground to prove to themselves and the world that everything is possible – that complete domination CAN change (erase) human nature resulting in a submissive nonreactive “gray ghost” reduced to animal status. All other humans are eliminated and power is total.

    I don’t believe Trump is a buffoon but I think he would be quickly eliminated when (if) Totalitarianism consolidates power – his reactive ego would not be tolerated.

    The big question is: will we citizens wake up and see the immediate danger instead of being just titillated by his egotistical antics?

    • Al Renneisen
      March 9, 2017 at 17:15

      As the election got closer and my frustration grew, I re-read Arendt’s book to see if I could make sense of what was going on. Brilliant writing and essential to understanding what is going on, but how many can see what is going on? Zappa’s taunting “it can’t happen here” kept rolling around my brain.

    • Tommy Jensen
      March 12, 2017 at 00:23

      Well, at the moment there is 800 million Western zombies waiting for 3 muslim women with scarfs to come around and do something about it.
      The only thing these 800 million care about is their car and their holiday house with company discount where they can feel better than and to hell with the rest.
      China, Russia and Iran are at the moment the only representatives for true humanity and they are not a bad bet.
      The problem is that Trump and Bannon and America still are in an illusion they own the leadership to define the future for everybody, but only weak characters and hypocrites wants them.

  24. F. G. Sanford
    March 9, 2017 at 14:58

    Moral decadence, unemployment, an immigrant crisis, a demoralized military in the throes of despair brought on by capitulation at the very cusp of victory, the power elite hobbled in their efforts to sustain perceived entitlement to their natural ruling status, a set of ideologies from the previous century retooled to confront a brave new order, industrialists hoarding their wealth in hard currencies in foreign banks as the economy sputters on fiat money, sequestered assets remaining uninvested as financial uncertainty looms, production of capital goods slowed to a halt, the life-savings of honest hard working people wiped out, the banking class composed of a detached oligarchy devoid of national identity, crime running rampant amid calls for reform, political factions from the far right and left on fluid battlefronts, party identity shifting or collapsing as coalitions of unlikely partners vie for hegemony, strained loyalties and covert allegiances leading to accusations of treason and disloyalty…

    Ah, the theory of ‘cyclical history’. It goes way back, kinda like the Cesspools in ‘Lil’ Abner’. It was an old family name, and the bearer proudly declared, “Us Cesspools go way back.” Clear to the Greeks and Plato, and apparently, more recently to Woodstock. Yep, I thought the Woodstock era was pretty cheesy too – a bunch of irresponsible assholes who finally grew up…or collided with economic reality, and many of them went to work on Wall Street. I never went to Woodstock, but I knew people who did. They said the stench of human urine and feces was overwhelming – unless there was a lot of dope smoke in the air. The Woodstock Wall Streeters continued their carefree (lack of moral) tradition, though they apparently acquired a modicum of personal hygiene somewhere along the way. Many of them switched to cocaine as well.

    So…without resorting to the myriad solutions outlined in that thick red, white and black book entitled, “My New Order”, I wonder if anyone can elucidate Mr. Bannon’s “strategies”. A culture of sustainable Promethean rebirth from the ashes of a perceived historical legacy of lost greatness? Sounds frighteningly familiar. My first paragraph above describes the challenges faced by a previous “Prometheus”. His solutions weren’t pretty, and apocalyptic pessimism doesn’t sound like a good place to start. But it seems to appeal to lots of Americans. They keep voting for the John McCains, Lindsey Grahams, Paul Ryans, Nancy Pelosis, Chuck Schumers, Mitch McConnels…and who was that woman Senator out there in the midwest with a nine millimeter pistol and a hog ball fetish? I forget her name, but she’s another Great American. Cheers!

    • Brad Owen
      March 9, 2017 at 16:16

      Perhaps he is just the “Herbert Hoover” (an engineer by profession who tried to struggle proactively with the Great Depression, but based on bad advise) that precedes the arrival of “FDR” (Bernie in this case) who dealt quite effectively with the Great Depression. I grant that Hitler and Mussolini also dealt with the Great Depression, after the “neolibs and -cons” of that era, industrial (Robber)Barons and banking (Robber)Barons, managed to eff up everything beforehand. Come to think of it, history does sound cyclical.

    • Joe Tedesky
      March 10, 2017 at 13:07

      I would rather be referred to as the ‘baby boomer generation’ than be associated to Woodstock. My favorite entertainer was Richie Havens though.

      I also think what helped a lot to get us out of Vietnam was the disgruntled soldiers ‘fragging’ of the officer corps who were stationed alongside those fed up enlisted draftees. Add to that, our military’s high command had had it with all of us civilian types running around in their draft militia, and that this had a great effect on bringing on the change from the cloud we were all under.

      Desert Storm was declared by Poppy Bush to be the end of the Vietnam syndrome, and with that Poppy started the new syndrome which we are still under since his disastrous time in office. In fact this era inside of all our American history will be I’m sure deemed the worst of the worst.

      So while tyrants get library’s and buildings built in their name, and generals get medals for developing terrorist networks, we the people suffer from an over priced healthcare system and live in fear of what waits for us around the bend. So you are on your own until big brother says you are not…welcome to modern day America.

      Now pass that doobie over here.

  25. Sam F
    March 9, 2017 at 14:25

    Mr. Crooke is trying to deceive his audience with generational propaganda.

    Every generation has good and bad people in it, as is obvious all around us in every generation. Any attempt to pretend that a generation has a single personality that explains everything is beyond stupidity: it is hate propaganda. Obviously Crooke lies about the “Woodstock generation” which could not have been more idealistic or self-sacrificing, and he probably hates them for that.

    Usually the purpose of generational propaganda is the opposite of that claimed: it is to trick young people into thinking that all of those older people are all bad, all of the sort the propagandist hates, and to trick them into doing what the propagandist wants.

    Crooke knows full well that the the “Woodstock generation” believed in the “higher values that had made America what it was” and yet accuses them of displacing those. He knows full well that the ““pleasure principle,” the narcissism” on which he blames financial meltdowns was the fault of their opponents in the same and other generations.

    He tries the idiotic trick of blaming the recessions caused by financial scammers on the idealists of an earlier generation. That is probably the dirtiest double-dealing I have seen on this website.

    Perhaps Consortium should inquire where Crooke was during the Vietnam war, when those he hates so much were sacrificing their careers and undergoing constant false denunciations for trying to stop the 2-4 million US murders in Vietnam/Cambodia/Laos. No doubt he was out there selling anti-communism democracy-promotion snake oil to denounce them. Perhaps he will explain how those murders were “worth it” and how the US would have brought progress to SE Asia anything like China has brought.

    • Jules M.
      March 9, 2017 at 19:08

      Amen !

      • Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
        March 9, 2017 at 19:39

        Double Amen!

        • March 10, 2017 at 02:12

          Ronald Reagan started the Country on its slide with his “Trickle Down Economics”. He cut taxes for the rich and the little guy drank the Kool-Aid. The little guy is again waiting to drink the Kool-Aid being offered by Trump. Cut the taxes for the rich and we will all be “great again”. The little guy is his own worst enemy. Oh by the way these tax cuts will add to the deficit. The little guy has a deficiency when it comes to voting He continuously votes against his own best interests.

          • zman
            March 11, 2017 at 11:37

            I could not have expressed it any better. The American voter=The stupidest animal on earth.

  26. Sally Snyder
    March 9, 2017 at 14:11

    Here is an article that looks at the most critical issue facing the United States:

    Unfortunately, with an intransigent and highly polarized Congress and Executive Branch, it is highly unlikely that any meaningful and long-term progress will be made to improve this situation.

  27. Zim
    March 9, 2017 at 13:42

    “If history does not produce such an urgent threat, Fourth Turning leaders will invariably find one — and may even fabricate one — to mobilize collective action”. I wish they would recognize that climate change is the most serious and urgent threat to civilization. Acceptance of this could be used as the most unifying force in history.

    • Jasper
      March 10, 2017 at 05:48

      Exactly what i was thinking as i read this piece, Zim.

  28. Sojourner
    March 9, 2017 at 13:38

    The grand cycle theory of change is nothing new. Bannon did not invent it: A Russian economist called Nikolai Dmyitriyevich Kondratieff (1892 – 1938) did. It’s called the K-Wave, or Kondratieff Long Wave theory of social change, which incorporates notions of Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter cycles. I like to give credit where credit is due.

    • Brad Owen
      March 9, 2017 at 16:01

      Actually, the Hindus did, calling it the Four Yugas (ages: Gold, Silver, Copper or Bronze, Iron), followed by an equivalent amount of time in comatose dormancy. Rinse and repeat. Only Brahm knows how many of tTHESE cycles have played.

      • Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
        March 9, 2017 at 19:36

        The Yugas are more inclusive earth changes which cover thousands of years….not the same, in my humble opinion. We are coming to the end of the Kali Yuga around 2025. Then there is a 300 year interlude so relief is not around the corner. The Yuga that we are in is the worst of the Yugas and the destructive one before a rebuilding.

        • Brad Owen
          March 10, 2017 at 09:45

          I’ve read that that the four yugas are 1,728,000, 1,296,000, 864,000, and 432,000 years long, respectively, making up a Day of Brahm of 4,320,000 years, followed by a Night of Brahm of 4,320,000. He has 100 years worth of these Days and Nights, before He too, is de-throned by ParBrahm and a new Brahm is incarnated. A story: a Mystic points to an ant on the ground and says to His disciple; “the Soul,of this ant was once Brahm”.

          • Brad Owen
            March 10, 2017 at 13:36

            Of course there are cycles within cycles. This one is the Universal Cycles, and all others are subsumed within it. I think it’s interesting the Earth’s regular, precessional wobble had some significance to ancient astrologers, that generated some kind of meaningful “influence”. It’s a lost science now, but, as an electrician that understands how a generator works (conductor, magnetic field, relative motion, differing positions of conductor-in-field yields differing values), I can see the possibility of such a phenomenon existing.

  29. March 9, 2017 at 13:38

    As per usual; the blood sucking leach called US military is omitted as the culprit for bringing America down by investing in pointless destruction in stupid resume building wars.

    Creativity and construction of a good American way of life have zero to do with US military fixation on destruction and pollution.

    • March 9, 2017 at 14:12

      Agreed. Thank the “Woodstock” generation for calling out the military fascist regime for what it is.

    • Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
      March 9, 2017 at 19:32

      Garrett, So agree!

    • Sam F
      March 10, 2017 at 07:21

      Exactly. This article is certainly the worst sort of fake “analysis.” Crooke posits a completely unsupportable mythology of cyclical events, which has nothing to it but the notion of cycles, present since ancient times as a substitute for any real theory. On that vacuous foundation he states a series of completely unsupported and evidence-free prejudices to rationalize an obviously false view of recent US history. This is trash.

      Crooke reveals that his enemy is the idealists who opposed the US killing of 6 million innocents in Korea/Vietnam/Laos/Cambodia/Indonesia, and who stood against the killings at the cost of their careers, families, and present well-being. He denounces his moral superiors as “the Woodstock generation” to trick his audience into believing that they spent that decade at a particular music event for teenagers, instead of trying to stop his military bros from their favorite genocides. This is trash propaganda.

      Then Crooke asks us to believe that his moral superiors caused the financial meltdowns of 2007-8, on the grounds that some of their age group were involved in that utterly unrelated event, like every other age group. Why not blame that on Russia, Mr. Crooke? A slam-dunk, no?

      I have heard this trash propaganda primarily from those in the military industry, force-fed excuses for their murderous occupation, to denounce their moral superiors. Always there is a stupid pseudo-theory accompanied by demonizing to hide the truth. It hardly matters what Crooke’s excuse is: he has no reasoning, only prejudices, and he has complete contempt for his audience. Like a sales crook, he firmly believes that everyone else is even stupider than he was when he drank the MIC kool-aid.

      • BobS
        March 10, 2017 at 13:35

        The article is Crooke explaining Bannon’s (and Trump’s?) worldview, not articulating his own.
        I experienced it (framed somewhat less eloquently) from someone I work with, without knowing the source.
        Also, the subsequent comment thread is first rate.

        • San F
          March 11, 2017 at 10:11

          Yes the comments are great, but Crooke makes clear that these are his opinions. I re-read with the hypothesis that he was using the British mode of omitting the “subject thinks this” but he is not. He states his own view that the impunity of the bankers was due to the indulgence of teenagers fifty years ago, when he knows full well that opposite characters, and other people, were responsible. This is Crooke’s dirty prejudice, with zero basis in fact, and completely opposite to the realities, as he fully intends.

          • zman
            March 11, 2017 at 11:34

            That was my take exactly. I was one of those from the 60s revolution. If the government had not taken extraordinary steps to defame and derail the anti-war, anti-greed movement, things would be different today. As pointed out by others, Trump is going to make it all better by inflating the military even more. More insanity. For the author to attribute the rise of the banksters, et al, to the 60s movements is truly a laugh. The only thing the 60s movements did to exacerbate the situation was to provide TPTB with a basis for fake reasons to go retrograde and introduce the beginnings of authoritarian rule, enabled by those that believed the government was actually on their side. The military and pseudo-patriotic knee-jerk reactions provided the impetus.

      • Tommy Jensen
        March 11, 2017 at 23:37

        Ha ha many good comments here.

      • evelync
        March 12, 2017 at 17:59

        I’m currently reading James Galbraith’s (JKG’s son, as you may know) “The End of Normal” in which he castigates theoretical economists and their models for failing to understand or expect the Great Recession in 2008.

        Anyone who was around during Reagan administration and a professional economist to boot and who witnessed the lopsided deregulation of the S&L’s under Reagan – keeping in place the full faith and credit U.S. government guarantee of depositors money (up to $100,000 per account by then) but deregulating the lending side, unleashing a raft of criminally fraudulent, greed inspired loans – that cost taxpayers $1/2 trillion, and was involved in public policy should have recognized the risks associated with dismantling Glass Steagall under Clinton.

        From the article on the founding of the FDIC and the passage of the Glass Steagall bill in 1933:
        “ “We knew how much of banking depended upon make-believe or, stated more conservatively, the vital part that public confidence had in assuring solvency.”
        To secure public support, officials formulated a plan that relied on orthodox banking procedures.
        Few members of Congress knew what was contained in the Administration’s bill when they convened in extraordinary session at noon on March 9. In fact, Henry B. Steagall, Chairman of the Committee on Banking and Currency, purportedly had the only copy of the bill in the House. Waving the copy over his head, Steagall had entered the
        House chamber, shouting, “Here’s the bill. Let’s pass it.” After only 40 minutes of
        debate, during which time no amendments were permitted, the House passed the bill known as the Emergency Banking Act. Several hours later, the Senate also approved the emergency legislation intact.(16)
        (16)Raymond Moley, The First New Deal (New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.”

        I myself, during the 1980’s, called on an S&L in Texas and sold them federal agency bonds. Thanks to the suggestion of my husband, a mathematician, I recommended a ladder approach going out 5 years that protected their liquidity and took advantage of the higher yields available at the end of their 5 year range while funds from maturing bonds could be reinvested at competitive rates in that rate environment. It worked very well for them.
        The president of the S&L had been suspicious of brokerage firms and asked me when I visited in order to solicit their business if when a broker made a sale at my company was there a lot of raucous pounding on the walls!…….(It was my first visit to a customer and I didn’t know whether to laugh or crawl under the table.)
        After Reagan’s lopsided deregulation, that banker stopped doing business with me and got involved in a fraudulent land flipping loan scheme that earned him a prison sentence.

        So it was a shock to me to see Clinton, Rubin, Summers et al decimate Glass Steagall, unleashing for banks the controls on the lending side, removing the walls that separated depository banks from the investment banks (who were supposed to use their own funds, not publicly guaranteed funds to gamble if they so chose) while keeping in place the $250,000 per account deposit insurance, once more, inevitably bringing on the predatory schemes with the public purse at hand to pay off the bankers if things went bad.

        How could the economists miss the inevitable shenanigans unless they were living in an ivory tower of ignorance about how things really work?

        • Druid
          March 13, 2017 at 00:10

          Or they were not at all ignorant but just avaricious!

    • Mimi
      March 11, 2017 at 22:12

      Thank you Garrett, yes the military budget continues to suck dry the possibilities in other areas of our society and economy.

    • Curious
      March 14, 2017 at 18:11

      I was waiting for someone to call bs on the premise of the article and the “Woodstock Generation” in particular. Long forgotten by many is the Vietnam War and its effect on the nation. When a high schooler, or college age man is looking at a draft notice sending him to ‘Nam instead of living out his dreams, the world did turn upside down, but not in the way Bannon and his ilk pretend.
      Ali was put in jail for saying ‘why should I kill a brown man who did nothing to me or our nation?’ Many felt this way and the war triggered a lot of alternative lifestyles and realities.
      I enjoy many of Alastair Crookes’ articles but it must also be read with the knowledge the Brits were never under the same fear as the US regarding the war in Vietnam. That war is only a far off concept to them, and rather mythical as well.
      It’s no wonder that our previous head of the CIA turned President Bush Sr, brought out the Pompoms after Kuwait, dancing to the tune of “we have defeated the Vietnam syndrome in the US by this “win”.( It is an odd the symmetry that his child
      Bush the younger was a actual cheerleader) They wanted a win badly to get the younger people on board with their killing machine. The war in ‘Nam was a huge marker for a turn in many aspects of our nation in the 60s, and is rarely talked about anymore. It wasn’t the “generation of plenty” as the narrator said, but rather a generation facing fear, death, the communist scourge, who even questioned why would one want to bring a child into such a world. One doesn’t need to be schooled in the concept of fear to know it effect on a generation. It is the fear the elites like and foster, even if they have to make it up like many conflicts of today.

  30. Brad Owen
    March 9, 2017 at 13:09

    This pretty much confirms my intuition that there is Civil War among The Establishment (the Managerial Elite in industry, finance and military/Nat’l Security). Obama, Hillary, Paulson, et al, are the last members of the old era (season of The Fall) now passing away, with much rage and fury. Trump/Bannon is the first Administration of the New Era, to usher in “The Winter of our Discontent” where contentment will be much-sought-after, and very hard to find. Sounds to me like a “New Deal for the Forgotten Ones” is in the making. I just hope they discover Lyndon LaRouche and his “Four Laws” (a re-stating of Alexander Hamilton’s policies for Recovery after a quite debilitating, potentially lethal, Revolution). this was done by Lincoln, through the GreenBack policy. It was done a third time by FDR’s re-tooling of Hoover’s RFC (and his other alphabet agencies). Just a reminder to the Left that the best, most effective welfare program is a good-paying job. From that flows everything. Time to shut down the “gambling casinos” and get-rich-quick schemes, and get to work, real and dirty. Time to quit twisting Reality to try making it fit your Portfolio, and start making your Portfolio fit Reality (ie. stop these effing wars just because they’re “good for business”)

    • March 9, 2017 at 15:38

      Yep. Get to work hydraulic fracturing the earth for free oil for the army corps of engineers!

      • Brad Owen
        March 9, 2017 at 15:55

        Nope. I’m a Green Nuker. We never should have arrested the progress to safe nuclear power. It’s OK, though, India has carried on this progress through to success, and they are one of the essential Four Powers to usher in the New Paradigm (the other three being China, Russia, and USA), and it’s key to reducing carbon. The other key to reducing carbon is a serious CCC program to “green the Earth”, turning deserts into grasslands and forests…just add water (it’s a water Planet, you know, and nuke power is essential to running de-salination plants 24-7-365). Going further, we never should have “shoe–strung” our nuclear FUSION power projects for the last forty years. It’s OK though, China is carrying on with it and their Lunar program is based on eventually building automated factories on the Moon to mine H3 isotope (laying around there like sand on a beach, doesn’t occur here naturally, as we have a magnetic field and Moon does not), bring it back to Earth for fuel for Fusion powerplants, while working on producing a practical working model of one. If the Greens would reject the Eugenicists infesting their higher ranks (Prince Phillip, Prince Bernhard, former S.S. officer, among many other feudal hold-overs), we could devise sensible green programs that aren’t purely anti-human.
        But perhaps you endorse their “500 million cavemen” policy for planet Earth (of course to be kept in line by a 5 million warrior caste, while the 500 thousand oligarchs & families live like kings & queens, supported by a 50 million member technologist caste).

        • Jules M.
          March 9, 2017 at 23:38

          I toured the Princeton magnetic confinement C-Stellerator in the mid-60’s, watched the multi-gigawatt laser trigger experiments, still waiting. Show me the spent fuel reprocessing for nukes. Energy wise, 50% is the best steam turbine efficiency you get..can’t beat the laws of thermodynamics … so half of the total energy generated adds to the heat load of the environment.

          Gold standard is the hydrogen energy economy … would have been there by now if the same amount of money and research had been spent on direct photochemical splitting of H2O. Solar, wind and water power generated electricity don’t add to the heat load of the planet.

          • Brad Owen
            March 10, 2017 at 08:55

            OK, so long as we MOVE and not stay where whe are, dead in the water, waiting for self-destruction. THAT is my main point. We can no longer afford pointless wars and Wall Street’s unproductive casino gambling games. We MUST JOIN China’s Belt and Road Iniative (BRI). YOU convince India and China that nuclear fission and fusion aren’t worth the trouble. They’ve already gone FAR down that road.

        • March 10, 2017 at 11:36

          fukushima daiichi

          • Brad Owen
            March 10, 2017 at 16:05

            Should convert to India’s 4th generation power plants. Would have survived tsunami. They will do so eventually, as there is no choice but to increase energy flux density (not possible with wind and solar panels; an evolutionary dead-end, literally, for humanity), and humanity will have to master this technology too, along the path of Progress to many more advanced technologies in the best anti-entropic tradition of the Universe.

        • Lonkal
          March 10, 2017 at 18:53

          Serious stuff aside, that sounds like great dystopian sci-fi, I’ll be filing that away for Nanowrimo.

          However I don’t agree with Bannon and his 4th Turning, which echoes beleifs we’ve seen through the ages as if a society is like the life of an individual, or that whole clogs to silken slippers thing (vigorous barbarian nomads to pampered effete princlings who’ve lost their “virtue”. I think it’s about a societies access to energy and it’s ability to process information, I highly recommend The Collapse of Complex Societies by Joseph Tainter, I don’t think we face a collapse in this case (baring nuking ourselves in the face as a species) but the book describes very well the relationship between a societies ability to maintain itself along the terms in which it has become accustomed and what happens when it no longer can.

    • Patricia P Tursi, Ph.D.
      March 9, 2017 at 19:30

      Interesting analysis. Yes on the establishment civil war. As to the history, it is interesting how the conservative view portrays the the sixties and seventies as a time of indulgence. I look back fondly on those times as a revolt against the fifties post-war materialistic boom. There were drugs but not all. There was a culture of helping each other, sharing, turning our backs on materialism. Environmentalism was born but obviously didn’t win out against corporate greed. We are now in an inverted triangle of wealth with the wealth of the few crushing all the masses crammed into the apex of the upside down triangle. The Military budget and unknown black budget is sucking the hard earned taxes. The wealth of the corporate gangs are legend. Obama pledged one trillion to nukes. Trump has asked for an increased 55 Billion for warfare machinery. We could build our infrastructure, provide jobs, support small businesses, but that isn’t Trump’s style. While ranting about welfare, he has gone bankrupt with grants, bank loans, government loans and when he bellied up, who lost money? Not Trump. While trumpeting the hiring of US workers, he hired foreign workers, as he always does, for Mar A Largo. He has refused to pay his debts to honest companies…some who went broke, others who struggled. Trump he has no conscience. He isn’t conservative, he’s a predator. Do I approve of the other sucking leaders who pretend to be for the people and who stuff their pockets with corporate money ….the neolibs? No. We are a corrupt nation. It doesn’t have to do do with conservative or liberal. It has to do with greed and corruption. I had hoped that Trump might turn that around, but with more money going into the military, that is a lost cause. War produces nothing except profits for the warlords and the monies spent go into nothing that is lasting or benefits the people. But we, the masses will be the ones suffering through this upheaval. Many of us will die. So, let them eat cake! (I know Marie didn’t say this, but it fits)

      • Sam F
        March 9, 2017 at 20:16

        Very well put.

      • D5-5
        March 9, 2017 at 21:22

        Remember The Organization Man? William H. Whyte, I believe. It sent shudders through us. The Establishment was a huge pallid monster of conventionalism. The sixties was an unusual time, very unusual, and not easily dismissed as in the currently popular tendency, because it invited a dream of progress, and real change. The time invited consciousness expansion, and for a time had enormous influence . . . think of the music, astounding how it roared up out of nowhere.

        • Zachary Smith
          March 10, 2017 at 01:28

          I remember the practical “tips” at the back of the book for taking the personality tests more than anything else about it.

          (1) When asked for word associations or comments about the world, give the most conventional, run-of-the-mill, pedestrian answer possible.

          (2) When in doubt about the most beneficial answer to any question, repeat to yourself:

          I loved my father and my mother, but my father a little bit more.

          I like things pretty much the way they are.

          I never worry much about anything.

          I don’t care for books or music much.

          I love my wife and my children.

          I don’t let them get in the way of company work.

          Be conventional!

        • Brad Owen
          March 10, 2017 at 09:06

          Which sixties?: “We’ re going to go to the moon and do the other things (NAWAPA) NOT because they are easy but BECAUSE they are hard”. Or “Tune in Turn on drop out…if it feels good, do it”.??? The first one ended with a bullet to the brain. The second, LaRouche contends, was a covert op, deliberately launched to derail the first one, and degenerate the people,,so as NOT to be able to rise up again, in defense of our own general welfare, in defiance of The long-established oligarchs, who see us as THEIR managed herd of “production units”.

          • Brad Owen
            March 10, 2017 at 09:30

            Oh yeah, LarRouche has an interesting take on the music too. It was NOT an accidental occurrence. Look up Congress of Cultural Freedom ( a CIA op) in EIR’s search box…or don’t. I don’t actually care either way. We’ve been played by these very same forces that are trying to break Trump away from his campaign promises, on-going for DECADES now. How does it feel to know you’ve been “brain effed” by these same dark forces, from the cradle? You know I believe all of you nay-sayers are right; we will never break the chains that have been fixed upon us. That was Bannon’s point BTW, the thin blue line and all of that.

          • zman
            March 12, 2017 at 23:22

            LaRouche makes the same points as those that are stuck in the status quo..and want to stay there. Technology will not allow that. Whether we like it or not, our economy and state of mind have to change. The sixties that I experienced opened my mind to the possibilities that were in the offing; war is not a necessity, we are only as wealthy as the poorest among us, the future belongs to those that think outside the box and no one should have to be controlled simply for the sake of conformity. It also taught me that the money mongers were invested in the past and wanted to stay there because it enabled them. What confronts us today is the future of our children and our country, not to mention the world. Does the happiness and welfare of the people depend on those that seek power and wealth only? No. But a fundamental change must take place that takes into account what the possibilities of today present, not what we decide to pursue that fits into the power brokers paradigm. Robotics, energy that does not require polluting and dangerous waste and numerous other developments that will alter economies and the way they function, are coming. Make no mistake, most of these technologies already exist, but our so-called ‘leaders’ of today will not allow these changes unless they are allowed to control them and thus, us. I truly do not see anyone on the horizon that not only understands this, but has some sense of direction. Trump is certainly not the answer, as his tools du jour are classic economic and political tools that benefit only a certain class. A ‘for instance’ is infrastructure. Do we only rebuild roads and bridges…or do we embrace new forms of transit incorporating new technologies? Do we build new nuclear facilities with their inherent problems and vulnerabilities? Where would we be today had we started putting solar panels on every building in the country 40 years ago? What if we had demanded recycling instead of polluting our environment with landfills? These may not be the answers we seek, but they would have been a start in the right direction. Maintaining the status quo, whether it be energy, infrastructure, waste or manufacturing only serves to keep us in the same box and empowers those that lie, cheat and murder for profit and more importantly, preserves their ability to control everything in society. I fear the only answer will be the total destruction of civilization as we know it, as we do not demand answers to these questions from our ‘leaders’. The problems we face are not just because of our leaders, they exist because we willingly believe the lies we’re told.

      • turboglo
        March 10, 2017 at 00:18

        It’s absurd the way conservatives glorify the time before the civil rights movement and anti-imperialist movements. “Ah, yes, the good ole days when the unwashed masses knew their station and didn’t try to interfere with elite decision-making.” Make no mistake: Bannon is an ultra-conservative who longs for authoritarian rule by the “natural superiors.”

      • Stiv
        March 10, 2017 at 01:43

        Frankly, I think both Trump and Bannon would be well served with a 200ugm dose of high grade LSD ..dumped in the middle of a wilderness..and learned as to the folly of “modern man”. Both need to be cut down. But they aren’t the only ones.

        • Brad Owen
          March 10, 2017 at 09:09

          Are you speaking for the” 500 million cavemen policy” of the eugenics-minded oligarchs?

      • tina
        March 10, 2017 at 02:07

        I will be one of those who die. No more health , no help, other than a fundraiser here, or there. I am The new America. I am 53 years old and my life is meaningless. I cost too much. Bye-bye

      • Brad Owen
        March 10, 2017 at 09:19

        Yes. Trump may prove to be an ineffective “Herbert Hoover” after all; or even just another lying “Obama”‘ never meaning what he said. Meanwhile the “FDR” (Bernie) waits in the wings for 2020.

        • Brad Owen
          March 10, 2017 at 15:51

          Update: on EIR website, in hot news column, 1. Trump still plans to honor pledge to reinstate Glass-Steagall. This is all-important, as it will break the power of Wall Street. 2. News media will not dictate what relations to have with Russia, still looking for cooperative deal with Russia. This is all-important, as it will lead him to BRI, China’s belt and road initiative. So Imam still onboard the Trump train, but behind Bernie all the way, to protect the General Welfare of the people against the Establishment Republicans ridiculous domestic policies.

      • evelync
        March 11, 2017 at 19:56

        very well said! thanks, Patricia!

      • Druid
        March 13, 2017 at 00:05

        Well said! A plus

    • Peter Loeb
      March 10, 2017 at 08:41


      Throughout US history the only kind of mass fiscal spending which
      has gotten us out of depression of deep recessions has been war.

      Jack Rasmus analyzes this in his book “EPIC RECESSION:
      as well as his later “SYSTEMIC FRAGILITY IN THE GLOBAL
      ECONOMY” (2016),

      See also Gabriel Kolko’s more historical description in “MAIN CURRENTS

      It seems quite clear that that is precisely the way we are headed.
      It is not only the current Administration but also past ones
      (Obama, George W. Bush) . who saw the “salvation” of
      the US economy in spending vast sums on weapons to kill
      persons abroad almost always of a darker hue, or in any
      event others. Not good old Americans!!

      And make mistake about it: much of what we consider as
      or public military is no longer public but privatized. Vast sums
      in profits, guaranteed profits and many other kinds of
      perks will flow to private large corporations.

      These processes of are an invention of the Trump Administration.

      No Virginia, there will be no more coal mines in West Virginia.
      There will be no heavy manufacturing suddenly blooming
      up with decent salaries in the rust belt.

      The result will be the same as it was with the (US) civil war,
      the Mexican-American War, the Spanish-American
      War, World War I and then World War II,

      As Kolko notes well, after the Federal Budget of 1941
      the “Great Depression” was “solved”: Everyone had
      a job. Private defense contractors got perks, cost
      plus guarantees, factories built by the US government
      and so on.

      These facts (and they are facts!) causes moral consternation
      among those who are peace-loving. This is a dilemma
      which no one wants to face. It is ugly.

      Regarding the Green Party, I joined it in 2016. I must
      confess that it believed what I wanted to hear and as
      an organization was a complete flop. My other
      choice would have to support neither Democrats
      nor Republicans. I thought that for a well-intentioned
      woman, Jill Stein showed mixy and no political
      sense at all. Where did all that money come
      from—exactly where—for a recount that would benefit
      someone or other??Exactly who I could never figure
      out. I don’t want this protection of our democracy
      junk. Jill Stein’s immitation of a politician gets a D-
      if that.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Brad Owen
        March 10, 2017 at 09:14

        Wrong, simply wrong. Refer to what LaRouche,had to say about this notion. Go ahead, look it up. The WWII was launched to DERAIL the New Deal on the verge of proving what China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is about to prove to the World, and our established oligarchy is in hysterical panic over the prospect, desperately trying launch WWIII against it. They succeeded against FDR. This time they will fail against China and Russia. Their time on the World Stage is OVER.

        • David
          March 10, 2017 at 17:07

          Gotta say Brad, referring to LaRouche is not helping your case. Nor is subscribing to this “4th turning” nonsense.

          I believe I am seeing a new cult form right before my eyes concerning this “turning” nonsense.

          Have you ever heard of HL Mencken or PT Barnum?

      • evelync
        March 11, 2017 at 20:59

        I too worried about Jill Stein. In Texas where my vote was meaningless and I supported Bernie in the primary, i thought about voting for stein but wound up voting for Gary Johnson. Johnson was attacked for not knowing what or where Aleppo was and that was an additional incentive for me to vote for him. He promised no more regime change wars. Good for him! He was demonized for taking the moral high road.
        It was so bizarre that our policies were wreaking havoc on poor Aleppo and Johnson was attacked for not being part of that aggression….go figure….

        One of our giant intellectuals some years ago said they favored anarcho syndicalism.
        From what I can tell, this philosophy presumes that we do not need the top down autocratic economic system that inevitably harnesses and dehumanizes average people and preys on them to wage war,
        Instead people do very well at the grass roots level developing working arrangements and syndicates that are locally controlled and inspire creativity and independence.

        People are very well able to manage without being foreclosed on or bankrupted by student debt or sent off to war.
        They don’t need the huge predatory banks foreclosing on them and skimming maybe 30% of the fruits of their labor off them.

        We’ve been scammed and maybe, at this point, the scammers have killed the golden goose – maybe people recognize that our endless regime change wars and financial meltdowns paid for by taxpayers are not a very good economic model.

        It reminds me of the guilds in earlier centuries before the industrial revolution.

        • david thurman
          March 13, 2017 at 15:57

          To: evelync. You’re voting irresponsibility is in my view why we have the president we now have for the next 4 years! ” … i thought about voting for stein but wound up voting for Gary Johnson.”

          You had to know he could never win. We now have a president who is beyond a perpetual liar … this cannot be good for our country. I also blame the DNC hierarchy, for not feeling the Bern.

    • Bob
      March 10, 2017 at 20:09

      There have been many theories about various cycles or seasons, all of them unproven.

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