Steve Bannon’s Apocalyptic ‘Unravelling’

From the Archive: Ousted White House strategist Steve Bannon was a perplexing mix of populist, operative and opportunist, but his political theories crossed into the apocalyptic and bizarre, as Alastair Crooke described last March.

By Alastair Crooke (First published on March 9, 2017)

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 being sworn in on Jan. 20, 2017. (Screen shot from Whitehouse.gov)

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].

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)

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.

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.

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

  1. mike k
    August 19, 2017 at 8:27 am

    What a load of BS. Blame it on the hippies and the welfare queens. But Bannon wants to dress up his fascism with “philosophy.” This is the old story of more for the rich and powerful, less for the common people, in fancy drag. Of course the poor are to be conned into supporting the very people who are robbing them, with racist scapegoats, and faux patriotic militarism, and promises of future pie in the sky. Our supposed savior Trump is actually a fox in the henhouse, and a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Wake up Americans, you are being had again!

    • mike k
      August 19, 2017 at 8:37 am

      Bannon is back to mobilizing his “army” of ultra rightists, Klansmen, Nazis, Skinheads, etc. All his “philosophy is just a fig leaf to cover his fascist vision, which is not that different from Trump’s. This is why Trump got so upset when they made him renounce his good people among the marching Nazis, Klansmen, and white supremists, and he recanted and doubled down on his support for these “good fascists”.

      People who think Trump’s fascist leanings are harmless and insignificant or non existent, may be in for the same surprised shock they experienced when he won the election he was not supposed to win. “It can’t happen here” – don’t be too sure…..

      • mark
        August 19, 2017 at 2:44 pm

        Trumpenstein doesn’t have a vision, fascist or otherwise. Very soon he’ll be spending all his time on the golf course, like Obummer before him. The only difference between him and Obummer is that he has more golf courses to choose from.

      • Mike
        August 19, 2017 at 9:03 pm

        Every fascist needs a mythology

      • evelync
        August 20, 2017 at 11:30 am

        Thank you mike k!!!!!!! A clear analysis of the deep flaws of Trumpian/Bannonite visions.

        The big lie about the “turning”, the “vision”, the “movement”, whatever the author wishes to call it is that one thing it sure AIN’T is a democratic, grass roots, unscripted, individually inspired, creative initiative that enables the best of what it is to be human to flourish. It’s the opposite, witness the end point of Trump’s unleashing of the mentally crippled nazi’s among us during his bizarro campaign.

        Several years ago I heard the ominous sounding term – ANARCHO-SYNDICALISM – which, when one thinks about it isn’t sinister at all but very enlightened:
        And thinking about it, I imagined a culture which is NOT governed by a top down, structured, super organized and inflexible authoritarian regime with crazy perceptions but instead a leaderless, collaborative, cooperative, network of people who are each free to think for themselves creatively and thoughtfully and independently, while sharing the work of accomplishing community goals.

        The vision that Mr. Crooke is describing is NOT this democratic approach but a mindless, and yes, as you say, fascist, approach to human organization. The ‘visionaries” are at the top. And those at the top of the pile are burdened by crazy temperaments and illusions. a helluvaway to run a supposedly democratic country…..
        pas bon!

    • August 19, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Yes Mike, …it sounds like Ayn Rand with a lot of heavy make-up.

  2. JOHN DURHAM
    August 19, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Meanwhile, what is happening really, not mentioned here, is the international financial system has moved further West to Asia/Russia. I recall the prediction of Edgar Cayce, that “but out of Russia comes again the hope of the world.
    “In Russia there comes the hope of the world, not as that sometimes termed of the Communistic, of the Bolshevistic; no. But freedom, freedom! that each man will live for his fellow man! The principle has been born. It will take years for it to be crystallized, but out of Russia comes again the hope of the world. Guided by what? That friendship with the nation that hath even set on its present monetary unit “In God We Trust.”
    Edgar Cayce Reading
    3976-29
    June 22, 1944

    • Brad Owen
      August 19, 2017 at 9:19 am

      I was part of an Edgar Cayce study group, back the early 70s (some of us weren’t involved in the narcissistic “Me” decade nonsense). I have that quote burned into my memory, and such ideas were around in the time of Lincoln and Czar Alexander II. They sold us Alaska anticipating the World Land Bridge (and keeping it out of the geopolitical hands of the British Empire); wise, visionary chess players that they are. It’s also why they hold their temper while we go through our temporary insanity of imperial decline, and final renunciation of Empire, to join the family of Nations.

      • BobS
        August 19, 2017 at 9:37 am

        An Edgar Cayce study group would fit the definition of “narcissistic “Me” decade nonsense”.

        • zman
          August 19, 2017 at 10:12 am

          Do you even know what you’re talking about? Doubtful.

          • BobS
            August 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

            “Do you even know what you’re talking about?”

            That people who devote time to fortune tellers and quack healers are self-absorbed, yes.
            Particularly when those same people are so unreflective as to not recognize themselves as part of “narcissistic “Me” decade nonsense”.
            You know astrology is bullshit too, right?

          • Brad Owen
            August 19, 2017 at 11:26 am

            And yet there they are, in the driver’s seat (not what I voted for either). We can either make it work, or suffer catastrophic failure with much loss of life. One might consider that individuals are more complex in character, not deserving the simple assignation of “black hat” or “white hat”. Now is not the time for self-righteous, prudish Puritanism. We are what we are, and have an historic task at hand to accomplish.

          • Brad Owen
            August 19, 2017 at 11:33 am

            Sorry, zman. The above entry was directed towards Mike k.

        • Brad Owen
          August 19, 2017 at 11:27 am

          Clueless.

          • BobS
            August 19, 2017 at 11:30 am

            Wanna buy a crystal?

      • mike k
        August 19, 2017 at 10:20 am

        The Empire is not about to renounce itself, and go quietly into that good night. Unfortunately my fellow Kentuckian Edgar Cayce, was a self-promoting fake psychic. You can’t go by his wild trance inspired ravings. I know true believers will be shocked by my saying that, but this is the kind of risk I take almost every time I open my mouth.

        • Brad Owen
          August 19, 2017 at 11:32 am

          He cured thousands of people with his advice, given in the sleep state. It is THAT which caused others to consider his other “readings” concerning karma, past-life experiences and such. Otherwise, nobody would have given him a second thought. And the fact that he could the passing away of the Communist era is pretty amazing to me. In the late eighties our intelligence community were planning contingencies 40 and 50 years out, totally surprised by the demise of USSR/Warsaw Pact community.

          • BobS
            August 19, 2017 at 11:36 am

            Boo!!

          • Virginia
            August 20, 2017 at 5:36 am

            Hi Brad, Just wanted to say, it seems to me Cayce might be right. Thanks for sharing this.

        • evelync
          August 20, 2017 at 1:08 pm

          thanks for sharing your thoughts and daring to “open your mouth” here! risking the wrath of some people who may not understand what you’re saying or else perhaps be in denial over this perspective of reality.

          I tried to respond earlier but my response is awaiting moderation…..

          I said, in part:

          Thank you mike k!!!!!!! A clear analysis of the deep flaws of Trumpian/Bannonite visions.

          The big lie about the “turning”, the “vision”, the “movement”, whatever the author of this piece wishes to call it is that one thing it sure AIN’T is a democratic, grass roots, unscripted, individually inspired, creative initiative that enables the best of what it is to be human to flourish in each of us.
          No, it’s the opposite. Witness the tragic end point of Trump’s unleashing of the sadly deranged thinking of the nazi’s among us during his bizarro campaign……namely the tragedy of Charlottsville.
          ………
          The vision that Mr. Crooke is describing is NOT this democratic approach but a dark, and yes, as you say, fascist, approach to human organization. The ‘visionaries” at the “top” pulling the strings are burdened by crazed temperaments and illusions.
          pas bon!

          …………

  3. Brad Owen
    August 19, 2017 at 9:09 am

    The financial tsunami is coming and there is no way to avoid it; the only choice is to ride through it, hanging on to the “surf board”. Fortunately we have the “Playbook” for the occasion: the FDR New Deal and the return of the alphabet agencies: RFC, CCC, WPA, PWA, TVA, along with reinstituting Glass-Steagall and bankruptcy reorganization to cancel fraudulent, unplayable debt. Trump will HAVE TO put on the mantel of FDR. Perhaps call a huddle with the two Senators and three Representatives who didn’t vote for the unconstitutional sanctions to get their input (hopefully the others will be voted out, in 2018). Trump should also call a huddle with the Green Party officers most conversant with their policy platform; The Green New Deal. This will bring Ellen Brown to his attention (and Stephan Zarlenga too, of the AMI). Finally and MOST importantly, he should huddle with the people of EIR, as they can show him the 21st century way of replaying FDRs New Deal, involving cooperation with Russo-Chinese New Silk Road investment/development policies. They will tell him about the Alasko-Siberian World Land Bridge, and NAWAPA. In this scenario, our MOST valuable military asset will be the Army Corps of Engineers, bar none. Something like this will have to happen, if we are to survive the coming onslaught, and we don’t have timemtomshuffle the deck and draw new players. We go with the Team we got. Hope it’s good enough.

    • Brad Owen
      August 19, 2017 at 9:28 am

      The VIPS founder can introduce Trump to the EIR, as they were the first group to interview him.

    • mike k
      August 19, 2017 at 10:31 am

      The team we got? A fascist oligarch and his demented cronies? The crooked intel “community”, MSM, MIC, puppet congress, and neocon and CIA ghouls? With a team like that, how can we lose? Let me count the ways……

      • Ludlow
        August 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm

        Did you know it was the Obama admin that refused to sign off on an anti Nazi statement at the UN?

        What exactly about condemning both sides in the Charlottesville fiasco is so horrible? If one of the Neo’s had been run over would you be expressing such piousoutrage? Somehow I doubt it.

        • BobS
          August 19, 2017 at 3:13 pm

          But whatabout…..?
          Whatif…..?

  4. Herman
    August 19, 2017 at 10:06 am

    Mr. Crooks, you’ve ruined my picture of two airheads, that there really is something behind the eyes and between the ears. Now, if we could just take away The President’s twitter password.

    Mr. Crooke, the name so close to Alistair Cooke really is a pleasure to read. He, too, has something behind the eyes and between the ears and the gift of clear, even lyrical writing.

    Still, the talk of Armageddon, my own brother was always telling me it was about to happen, never seems to and I suppose because it never seems to doesn’t mean it cannot happen, but money and debt are people creations and people find a way to survive and even thrive whatever financial calamities may occur. Physical calamities are and some idiot ideologue triggering a nuclear holocaust is one of them.

  5. zman
    August 19, 2017 at 10:08 am

    “we have built a welfare state which is completely and totally unsupportable” = “slash corporate tax rates and fatten the bottom line for America’s biggest businesses”. The biggest massive drain on the economy is the same as it has been since WW2…the Pentagon. What do they want to do in relation to it? Increase military spending. Bannons mindset is clear…’almost the first thing he does is to salute the veterans and serving officers, and praise their qualities, their sense of duty’. This is no change from the last 72 years, it’s a continuation. If he thinks he has a new direction planned, where the hell is it? Looks like the same old crap, repackaged in a neopatriotic garb. The same results will ensue and grow. He seems to be calling for the people to undertake a new responsibility pledge, all the while continuing, even expanding, the very causation that that has put us where we are. He could take a few pointers from Ron Paul where the military, police and fiscal responsibilities are concerned.

    • mike k
      August 19, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Yes. Good thoughts.

    • Litchfield
      August 20, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      “’almost the first thing he does is to salute the veterans and serving officers, and praise their qualities, their sense of duty’”
      Sense of duty?
      For most of the military, I believe it is a job with good benefits.
      Especially in this era of the “volunteer military.”
      Reintroduce the draft, and maybe we can start to talk about “sense of duty” in the military.

  6. et
    August 19, 2017 at 10:39 am

    The Klan, Nazis, Skinheads, alt-rights, etc. are trying to wake us up to the new America our president hopes to bring about. They are bringing President Trump’s fascist dreams to Boston today. Lets see what new shocks they deliver to the sleeping citizens of America today……

    • et
      August 19, 2017 at 10:41 am

      How “et” was posted for the above post instead of mike k – the real poster, is a mystery to me. Identity theft?

      • mike k
        August 19, 2017 at 10:44 am

        Mmmmmm…….Did it again. Dear moderator, I mike k am not “et”. I may seem a bit strange to some, but I actually was born and reside here on Earth.

  7. Michael Kenny
    August 19, 2017 at 10:48 am

    This is only the fifth article I’ve read today but it is the fourth, the second on this website, in which authors known for their pro-Putin views seems to be in panic. I first thought it was Charlottesville but I’m starting to think it’s Bannon! I wouldn’t have thought that Bannon had that much power. He certainly was a visible symbol of the “capitulate to Putin in Ukraine” policy which has got Trump into so much trouble and Trump may be hoping to kill Russiagate by sacrificing him. However, Trump will remain Trump. He’ll still say everything and the opposite of everything and then proceed to do nothing.

  8. D5-5
    August 19, 2017 at 11:32 am

    Couple of observations. The trolls have come to CN to roost and note they continually have nothing to say, no substance, only snark as with the now tired “Putin apologists” comment . Their job is interrupt, turn everything as toxic as possible, destroy discussion, destroy CN’s reputation as a forum for reasoning instead of childish name-calling etc. etc. et-f’ing-cetera.

    They get off on being responded to and argued with and treated in like manner to themselves, that is, to engage in name-calling back to them, questioning them, etc., and all of it contributing to the snake-pit a forum can become.

    Second, a problem with Bannon’s views above, note now fired and note banker class etc., is the over-simplification which turns on shifting responsibility and generalizing. The sixties was a time of awakening in this country, possibly the last time the US was awake. It was not a narcissistic bunch of me-ists with their thumbs in their mouths and their eyes glazed, setting us all on the path to the current psychopathy Bannon himself represents.

    Crooke seems a little too impressed with these stalwart thinkers Bannon and Trump IMHO.

    • BobS
      August 19, 2017 at 11:43 am

      “…no substance…”
      Pretty accurate description of the echo chamber this comment section frequently becomes.

    • August 19, 2017 at 11:54 am

      D5-5…”Crooke seems a little too impressed with these stalwart thinkers Bannon and Trump IMHO.” Perhaps, but it’s good to know what kind of phony intellectualism goes into their rationalization of self-serving conduct.

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 19, 2017 at 1:06 pm

        “Legend in their own mind” and Ersatz Father-Figure are the descriptors that come to mine …. Bannon is another wannabe messiahs piggybacking on Trump’s fame and contributing to his success …

        I suspect both Manafort and Bannon were “picked” by Trump because of their real self-made fortunes (if they’re so rich, they gotta be smart) … Manafort was part of the Cadillac league of election fixers (going back decades with respectable politicians)

        from wiki

        In 1976, Manafort was the delegate-hunt coordinator for eight states for the President Ford Committee; the overall Ford delegate operation was run by James A. Baker III.[16] Between 1978 and 1980, Manafort was the southern coordinator for Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, and the deputy political director at the Republican National Committee. After Reagan’s election in November 1980, he was appointed Associate Director of the Presidential Personnel Office at the White House. In 1981 he was nominated to the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.[12]

        Manafort was an adviser to the presidential campaigns of George H. W. Bush in 1988[17] and Bob Dole in 1996.[18]

        I heard Maddow recently wonder why Trump would have chosen a “compromised” individual like Manafort for his team.

        Bannon’s “media career” was greater and more self-generated than Trump’s own and his resume more impressive, and more macho. Trump probably would have preferred the younger Breitbart, but he’s dead. … but Bannon’s association with Andrew Breitbart’s immense legacy is golden … he gave James O’Keefe his start — so particularly among young conservatives, Bannon “kept alive” (and arguably morphed and expanded) by the dear departed rash Breitbart — it’s all in trademarked/registered brand names and their rolodex/name-dropping and vague promises of future deals

        Trump picked these people as one would pick a mail order bride from a catalog … they had the big smile and the compelling backstory. … He self-sabotages too often, going off too “randomly” for me to think Trump is any-kind-of smart, except in his choice of legal teams … much of his “success” afaict resulted from bully tactics and manipulating / wielding powerful friends and the legal system

        Bannon’s a would-be messiah …has anyone analyzed his utterances for consistency. I suspect he’s talented at suggesting pedigree by who he claims as influences, bedazzling folks with his carefully name-dropped self-made associations … Smarter and more articulate than Trump by a country-mile — with a working memory … I think that without Bannon, Trump is in the deep waters without an anchor to keep him drifting further out to sea.

        Whether Bannon will be able to keep his ego and ambition in check will determine if his influence continues beyond what looks like an immediate “rock star” moment — that in which he’s freed from the chains of oval office respectability … I’m doubtful.

        • August 19, 2017 at 2:01 pm

          “Trump picked these people as one would pick a mail order bride from a catalog”…” Trump is in the deep waters without an anchor to keep him drifting further out to sea.” …nice wrap up, Susan…ahhh for the love of money!

          • Susan Sunflower
            August 20, 2017 at 1:07 am

            Despite being second-generation rich, Trump is so painfully nouveau riche … so vulgar, so boastfully eager, no desperate, to impress … just appalling … The foyer of his suite in Trump tower is all gilded and ornate antiques … feh …

            A massive bully, he uses that mincing enunciating and those almost stereotypic effeminate hand gestures…. reminds me of Martin Short in the Steve Martin remake of Father of the Bride … or maybe Marlon Brando’s Don Corleone, that soft, rather high voice.

            I felt during the election season and feel even more strongly with this “rise of the far right” that there some deep hunger for aggressively “male” role-models … like Archie Bunker … I read somewhere that Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs was being remade … in which — of course — nebbish Dustin Hoffman become a killing revenge seeking machine

            There’s a lot of rage and no real place to put it … So much of this is well-recognized sociologically in the age-old questions about “why folks join hate groups” … and yet “america” appears at a loss as to what’s happened. … or maybe they just want to avoid confronting the OBVIOUS.

      • D5-5
        August 19, 2017 at 8:52 pm

        I agree. It’s difficult for me to think Trump was into four turnings musings, but maybe so. We hear he’s bright, and that’s probably true within the confined sphere of business he’s been used to. But . . . in the White House, badly out of his element, and he did say a few months back how much he missed his old life.

    • Dave P.
      August 19, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      D5-5: Good observations. It is best to ignore those trolls.

      “. . .The sixties was a time of awakening in this country, possibly the last time the US was awake. . .”.

      From what I observed on the campuses during 1960’s, you are right on that. And as you said, it was the last time; yes, it is very true.

      • D5-5
        August 19, 2017 at 8:42 pm

        Dave, it seems to me that very short-lived moment in the sixties was essentially politically driven, and aided by a number of factors missing today, such as strong voices in the mainstream media and elsewhere, additional to the power of rock music and its political tendencies. The awakening to me was the empowerment to resist the usual corporate way of life and actually start a green America. But this spirit did not last. I believe economic factors in the early seventies, as with a precipitous rise in the price of gasoline, for example, are involved in why the 70’s turned toward other more inward preoccupations, and the politics died along with the assassinations of that period. . .

        • Bob
          August 20, 2017 at 12:15 am

          Also add to that the bright shining moment of Camelot.

        • Brad Owen
          August 20, 2017 at 6:45 am

          I can tell you that the 70s indeed caused a great turning inward and Soul searching (not to be confused with narccisistic self indulgences). Ten solid years of shock and awe, from JFKs assassination to Nixons helicopter ride outta town, with all of the riots, burned our cities and the Vietnam war between those two bookends, produced a strong sense of nothing left to stand by or rest on, in this physical material World, in young minds. Other surities must be found. It was the best decision I ever made. This raging storm-of-a-World comes to an end, for the individual, in70, 80, 90 years anyway; maybe much sooner than that. It’s just plain foolishness to not investigate what comes after, if anything.

    • August 19, 2017 at 8:40 pm

      I have noticed the same thing. Thanks for pointing it out. Too bad. CN has the best comments by far.

    • Litchfield
      August 20, 2017 at 10:39 pm

      Hard for me to tell what Crooke’s attitude toward these “thinkers” Bannon and Trump are.
      I have read the text of Trump’s earlier pamphlet.
      It sort of seemed to make sense.
      Bannon seems to me to be way out of his depth as a “thinker.”
      You don’t need all of the cyclical mumbo-jumbo to have a pretty good idea that this country is in financial deep shit. Teh idea that the military is a moral bulwark is nice and sentimental, but the financial facts are that the military has sucked the life out the American economy, along with globalizzation. They seem to be two sides of the same coin. The miliary has always cleared the way for or protected American corporations in one way or another, both domestically and internationally. Bannon is trafficking in fantasies. If he is a philosopher then so is my car mechanic.

  9. Joe Tedesky
    August 19, 2017 at 11:37 am

    If America wants to fix these problems, then stop fighting all these needless wars, and start work on building the new 21st Century infrastructures to maintain a 14 billion people world population….& provide jobs.

  10. mike k
    August 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    “This is really amazing, think of it: everybody hates the Neocons, not only a majority of the American people, but truly the entire planet. And yet that numerically small group of people has somehow managed to put everybody in danger, including themselves, due to their ugly vindictiveness, infinite arrogance and ideology-induced short-sightedness. That this could ever have happened, and at a planetary scale, is a dramatic testimony to the moral and spiritual decay of our civilization: how did we ever let things get that far?!” (The Saker)

    The origin of this moral and spiritual decay of civilization began long ago, and has only deepened and accelerated over the millenia of our long history since we came down from the trees and developed language and tools and weapons and all the rest, on the way to cities, the foundation of “civilization”. Throughout our history there have been those who warned us that our greatest problems were within ourselves, and if we did not grow beyond our selfishness, violence , and greed, we would end destroying our species. Those voices have never gained our full attention or commitment to the developmental programs (spiritual paths) necessary to evolve beyond our unspiritual, unloving state. The neocons depended on our deficient moral state to wield their evil influence over us. Without that basis we would have rejected them and not given them a thought. The time is very late now, and in the crisis times ahead of us I am afraid that the inner work we needed to commit to long ago may be beyond our capacity to do now. We are in for it now, and the unforgiving automatic law of karmic consequences will probably terminate our stay on Earth.

    • BobS
      August 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      “Throughout our history there have been those who warned us that our greatest problems were within ourselves, and if we did not grow beyond our selfishness, violence , and greed, we would end destroying our species. Those voices have never gained our full attention…”
      Too frequently it’s not that those voices haven’t gotten the full attention of many people, but that too many of the people that have heard the warning have twisted the message to rationalize their own warped pursuits- religious fundamentalists are every bit the problem that neocons are.

      • mike k
        August 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm

        Agreed. The words of the true prophets have to compete with a lot of false religion, psychic BS like Cayce, and many other new age folks that use some fake “spirituality” to aggrandize themselves and make a bunch of $ is legion.

        • Realist
          August 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm

          No offense, but these folks who go with their gut and their fables (the one’s Obama said cling to their bibles and rifles) are part of the real world, the one in which I live. If you can identify some common ground with them in the struggle for a more equable and affluent society, it makes sense to try to get them to cooperate in at least limited areas of common interest, rather than totally alienating them because they are not purist liberals, stark rationalists or whatever one’s political philosophy may be. It’s called compromise, settling for half a loaf if that is attainable and what congress used to strive for it. If we demand they cede their religious, spiritual or magical thinking before we try to reason together we will not move forward. As irrational and dysfunctional as some of this mental baggage may be–and some of these people are clearly being fleeced by charlatans–you will be rejected if you challenge it and they will ally with the other side, even if not in their interest.

          Long ago (1930’s) the philosopher/mathematician Kurt Gödel , using logic and mathematics, proved that no model of the universe can ever be contrived that is both entirely consistent and complete: there will always be contradictions and gaps. It’s called ” Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem.” Even the universe is not perfect, don’t expect more from human beings.

          Mike, you once made the good point that you would rather try to peacefully confront the dangerous notions of the strident Russophobes. Pretty sure that was you, in response to someone trying to provoke you to employ hate speech. I think that philosophy of peaceful debate would gain more traction even when trying to win over hard core fundies. Just practice what you preach. People are not swayed by folks who say one thing (preaching peaceful co-existence, for example) and then act to the contrary (exuding public disdain and rejection for groups based on thought patterns). Just advice for everyone, and not directed at you specifically, Mike.

          • Virginia
            August 20, 2017 at 6:33 pm

            Realist — Your gentle diplomacy is enviable. I vote you the gatekeeper of CN.

    • Susan Sunflower
      August 19, 2017 at 1:23 pm

      Scratch many liberals and describe the neocon’s fundamental priniciple — a better world through capitalism and democracy — they’ll endorse and ask where to sign up ….

      The neocons exploit the beyond mythic “American Exceptionalism” wrt being the guardian of human rights (as well as truth, justice and the American way) …

      The brand name “neocon” has acquired a taint … but the belief that “if America doesn’t, who will?” — America as the World’s Savior — is still appallingly strong when applied to shiny-new problems … look at Korea, look at the enthusiasm for “punishing” Russia and China and Iran … the list goes on. Look at how non-intervention in Rwanda (and increasingly Syria) is used as a guilt-trip …

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm

        I think it can be argued (perhaps not successfully) that the Neocons did not mean to be shepherding in some Neo-Colonialism or American Imperial (cultural or otherwise) 2.0 … but that is what it (quickly and even unsurprisingly) became…

        Yes, many of us thought that the Vietnam experience had inoculated a generation against imperialist tendencies … we were wrong … that “raised consciousness” wore off awfully quickly … see Central America, etc.

      • D5-5
        August 19, 2017 at 8:36 pm

        “Scratch many liberals and describe the neocons fundamental principle—a better world through capitalism and democracy—they’ll endorse and ask where to sign up . . .”

        I’ve been assuming this IS the Democratic Party now, neocon to the core, one-worldism and “better” under boilerplate hogwash such as “right to protect” and “(sigh) global policeman.”

        I’ve been a registered Dem for a long time, but no more. I’m looking for some powerful firebrand third parties to start in . . . my dream is, say, five firebrand energetic verbal parties of all stripes, talking and going to election, giving America a real choice, with the tired old mainstream parties pushed out of the way. It could be too late for this, however.

        PS discovered today: 52% of the Republican Party recently voted to uphold the President should he decide to postpone the 2020 election (see USA today).

        • Susan Sunflower
          August 20, 2017 at 1:30 am

          People “hate” the neocons who lied them into supporting the war on Iraq … y’know, they hate Bush and Cheney (but they’ve probably forgotten all about Perle and Wolfowitz and might well have already mostly erased Condi Rice and Colin Powell from their hate-list) … They hate Judy Miller (who may well have been deliberately chosen as a conduit, recognized as an ambitious woman eager for a Pulitzer for some story of the decade scoop) … but they fall for those “what about the children?” appeals again and again and generally swallow whatever “America the Good” action that’s proposed.
          They never knew how bad Bosnia was, don’t really care about Iraq or Afghanistan … but those White Helmet and the children of Syria … seriously

          They are very obedient about hating who they’re told to hate and fearing who they are told to fear.

          A “better world through democracy and capitalism” sounds like some happy no-brainer panacea unless you can remember not too distant history, the missionaries who accompanied by the colonizers … and how all that turned out.

    • mark
      August 19, 2017 at 2:56 pm

      The neocons are no friends of Trumpenstein (except when they browbeat him into bombing somebody/ anybody.) They get their own way regardless of what the electorate wants because they represent Wall St., the Military/ Industrial/ Intelligence/ Media complex, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Zionist Lobby/ Saudi Lobby.

    • alexander
      August 19, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      I do not agree that the “neocons” depended upon our “deficient moral state to wield their evil influence over us.”

      When I was told , with resolute certainty, that it was Saddam’s “anthrax” deposited in Tom Brokaw’s newsroom and Senator Leahy’s office….I believed it 100%

      Precisely because i could never IMAGINE anybody “lying” about something of such grave and vital importance.

      Could you ?

      This does not represent my “deficient moral state”, but my reasonable faith that no
      decent person on earth would ever lie about something so horrific.

      It is the exact equivalent of Imagining our leaders telling us that Sweden , not japan, had just attacked Pearl Harbor.

      For them to do that , is a profound and insidious form of criminal behavior.

      Am I mistaken to think so ?

      This deception, this desire to ……”lie us into war”…. represents an extreme evil which is upon on us all…It is not representative of “our” depraved state …but the pernicious deprivation of those who wish to create fraudulent pretexts to throw us into wars of aggression against people who never attacked us.

      This is a shameful, criminal thing to do.

      Its terrible…

      What is worst of all, is there has been absolutely zero accountability for any of this.

      Zero accountability.

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 19, 2017 at 7:39 pm

        I agree and I applaud your completely appropriate righteous anger at being lied to … we need more of that … rather than cynical 11-dimensional-chess manufactured conspiracies — “told-ya-so” doesn’t help 5+ years after the fact …

        • hatedbyu
          August 19, 2017 at 8:31 pm

          read ron pauls very apt description of who the neocons are if you have not. its quite enlightening

          • DCV
            August 20, 2017 at 9:18 am

            Or go to Metanoia Films to see the long shameful and deliberate (I conclude) wipeout of democratic involvement of voters by elites since the 1920’s. As said above, the sixties were a brief period of wakefulness, snuffed out mostly I think by a very conscious program to control the media messages we receive. We have neither Capitalism or democracy anymore. We only have infighting on every turf but the one that unites us all: economic disparity.

  11. Jon
    August 19, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    People like this can only appeal to useful idiots. That is not to say the Liberals aren’t the same.

    It is the time of useful idiots all-in-all.

    https://therulingclassobserver.com/2017/08/19/in-the-time-of-useful-idiots/

  12. mark
    August 19, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    US Presidents, whether Trump, Obama or anybody else, are just trained monkeys taught to read an autocue. They don’t matter. It’s like Whammo soap powder or Whizzo soap powder. They help the Deep State preserve an illusion of democracy without its substance.

    You can give these people the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they would genuinely like to do some good. But they realise rapidly that isn’t feasible and more or less just give up. Obummer spent most of his time on the golf course. Trumpenstein will do the same. He has some nice golf courses to choose from.

    A few glib phrases are bandied about, whether its “Hope and Change” or “Make America Great again.” It doesn’t matter. It’s all hot air. The only change anyone ever got out of Obummer is chump change.

    All we will get from Trumpenstein is what the Deep State wants. More wars, more stock market bubbles, more gross inequality, more lawlessness, more torture, more mass surveillance, no healthcare or education or real future for 99.9% of Americans till the whole system implodes after the 0.1% have had ample time to extract their ill gotten gains and retreat into their gated communities and New Zealand bunkers. Expecting anything more is just an exercise in self delusion.

  13. DFC
    August 19, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    A century ago the Government was pretty much a bystander to the economy (with the exception of tariffs). During that time Mercantilism was dead and Adam Smith reigned supreme. So, as a result, the nation would frequently go through cyclical periods of booms and busts, which culminated in the Great Depression. This placed a huge reliance on the Big Bankers of that age, the Morgans, Rothschilds, etc. Then after the 1930s thinking on this began to change and the government embraced the theories of Keynes & Friedman, etc, which gave the government some ability to modify the economic cycles through “unnatural” monetary interventions. And so, as the government assumed the mantel of this “onus” it required more and more control of things that are essentially beyond its control. The intentions were sincere here, but the economic cycle has always been one of “births and deaths” and the faulty assumption was that it was possible to artificially create a environment that would yield more births (times of prosperity) than deaths (times of depressions & recessions). This is analogous to a Ponzi scheme that loses control, but instead of more money, the scheme needs more and more regulation. So instead of many small deaths, the system gets pressurized so that the more frequent small deaths are replaced by less frequent large deaths. The result is, that in order to keep these large catastrophic deaths at bay, the government needs to have more and more powers, often ones tangent and far remote from economics, which has triggered a current resurgence in the ideas of Socialism and Communism. The Trump / Bannon side recognizes that this is not the answer, and that it just postpones the inevitable. Their alternative is dial back government interference in the economy, which, if taken to its limits, puts us back in the pre-1930s Era of the Robber Barons, again not the answer. If you were a Taoist, you would clearly see this as humanity’s original obsession – to create a Universe in which there is more Yin than Yang.

  14. Broompilot
    August 19, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Actually, regarding Bannon that all sounds quite reasonable. The pendulum swings. This is the first thing I have read about Brannon that makes any sense. But then it’s hard to believe that we can’t finance-scam ourselves back to national health. Say it ain’t so.

  15. Susan Sunflower
    August 19, 2017 at 2:33 pm

    I’ve seen too many references to Trump being most influenced by whomever he spoke to last to want to bet on Bannon’s continued influence on the Trump White House, particularly since so many were aligned (ardently apparently) against him (Bannon) …

    That Trump apparently “liked” Bannon enough to put up with his much-reported divisive presence and — wait for it — leaking (long-standing rumors that he was a major Trump Admin leaker) … how is this “smart” … even in a “band of rivals” fashion? (not that that worked out all that well for Obama as far as I could tell)

    Trump apparently preferred the drama of dysfunction, some kind Boxing Federation showdowns in which — notably — Bannon emerged apparently intact … until — again apparently — Kelly pulled the plug and Trump (in dire straights) sacrificed his knight.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 19, 2017 at 6:43 pm

      Susan – instead of twiddling his thumbs, maybe Bannon thought he could do a lot more good for Trump by being over at Breitbart?

      • Susan Sunflower
        August 19, 2017 at 7:18 pm

        he was apparently fired — although he of course claims he was considering resigning ….

        • D5-5
          August 19, 2017 at 8:58 pm

          He’s going to war he says, and back to his old journalism to do it, because the bulk of the Republican Party is not interested whatever in what drives Trump’s base, the America First and build the wall and all that policies, etc. Now he’s free to get into this to rip and tear at them, as further fraying and deterioration of the political parties in this country.

          • Susan Sunflower
            August 19, 2017 at 10:22 pm

            He’s sending mixed messages which — when matched by hysterical press speculation — means anything is possible and he has all the leeway in the world to say “It’s all going according to plan, you see, I meant that to happen” …

          • backwardsevolution
            August 19, 2017 at 10:51 pm

            Susan – the media are going to twist whatever Bannon did or didn’t do. It’s all speculation.

  16. mike k
    August 19, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    Realist – Sorry I did not get back to you sooner, amazingly I have other complications in my life than trying to express ideas here…….OK I tried to find my long answer to you back on this thread, which I just wrote and was put in moderation. I now find it was deleted. Nothing any more inflammatory than my usual rants. Moderation is a mystery on this blog. Sorry, but I got a crick in my neck with writing my lengthy response, so I won’t redo it now. But please understand that I respect your views, and have learned a lot from you, and in no way intend to insult or disrespect you. I try to hit a civil tone in disagreeing with people, but perhaps don’t always succeed. Sorry if you felt offended by my remarks. People get really touchy around these north/south conflict issues, I’ll try to keep that in mind.

    • Realist
      August 19, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      Mike, there are so many posts dealing with the fallout of the last several days that it becomes nearly impossible to scroll through so many entries and find something you are looking for. One of the recent articles has 267 responses as of this moment. I have worn out 3 or 4 mice and worn off all the letters on my keyboard from responding to material on the internet–just on my latest computer. Yeah, I know you have a lot to say and limited time in this world to say it. Some of the repetition on Trump could be eliminated, saving you precious time. We know what you think about that and it needn’t be restated to every other poster–no offense intended. Some people (who could be named but won’t be for sake of comity) have been really getting carried away with the insults on this constellation of topics and it finally got to me when you took issue with me when I was actually agreeing with one of your statements (about how to effectively oppose the Trump agenda rather than to stage a coup) and merely expanding on it. Seemed you should have been glad rather than piqued. Sorry for the “FU” response. I tried to delete it with the edit function, but the system froze up when I tried. They put it in “moderation” but, surprisingly, later allowed it to stand.

      • mike k
        August 20, 2017 at 10:59 am

        Thanks for your response realist. We have to learn to tolerate each other in this leaky life boat heading for the certain falls looming ahead. You are right, the complexity required to navigate these waters makes it impossible to say everything that needs to be said, and avoid all contradictions and lacks of total clarity or completeness. So much that needs to be shared is beyond words altogether – motions of the heart longing for a world of love…..

    • hatedbyu
      August 19, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      intend

  17. Moneycircus
    August 19, 2017 at 3:21 pm

    Sorry but so, what? A producer journalist moves out of the White House.

    An event largely lacking in significance and certainly not worth an article among the valuable think pieces on this site.

    • backwardsevolution
      August 19, 2017 at 9:50 pm

      Moneycircus – the article was about “The Fourth Turning” and what Steve Bannon thought about it, not that he moved out of the White House.

  18. Moneycircus
    August 19, 2017 at 3:22 pm

    Someone much more intelligent than Steve Bannon or Noah Chelyabinsk, sorry whatsisname, Noam Chomsky.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avbIhMi9OWg

    Listen to Yuri Bezmenov from 50 minutes in.

    • BobS
      August 19, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      I’d forgotten about Yuri.
      Somewhat effective propagandist for Reagan & Thatcher, i.e. the first wave of neoliberalism, under the auspices of telling ‘secrets’ of the KGB.
      Given his feelings about media relative to government, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t appreciate an independent media outlet like consortiumnews- in fact, he probably had nothing good to say about Robert Parry back in the 1980’s, since Parry (along with Daniel Sheehan, at the Christic Institute) were two of very, very few sources reporting truthfully about the Contras in Central America.

      • backwardsevolution
        August 19, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        BobS – “Given his feelings about media relative to government, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t appreciate an independent media outlet like Consortiumnews.”

        Yuri said:

        “The media puts himself in opposition to the society in general, at large, separate, alienated. Who elected them? How come they have so much power, almost a monopolistic power of your mind? They can rape your mind. Who elected them? How come they have the nerve to decide what is good and what is bad for the elected-by-you President and his administration? Who the hell are they? Spiro Agnew, who was hated by the liberal left, called them a bunch of enfeebled snobs, and that’s exactly what they are. They think they know; they don’t.”

        Yuri Bezmenov missed the media monopolies formed during Bill Clinton’s tenure, the loss of small, independent newspapers and TV stations. I’m pretty sure if he were still alive today, he’d be shocked at the Soviet-type stranglehold that the media has on the country.

        In fact, if you listen to the whole video, especially where he talks about “destabilization” and “demoralization”, you would see that we are there, at the “crisis” stage: everybody fighting, control by media, vested interests fighting for political power. It’s all there, a breakdown of society.

        Nothing holding the country together; the center cannot hold.

        • BobS
          August 20, 2017 at 12:56 am

          I prefer to get my media criticism from Chomsky & Hermann and Robert McChesney rather than Spiro Agnew and Yuri Bezmenov (and Donald Trump, who shares the same authoritarian predilections as Agnew and Bezmenov).
          I didn’t buy his act then (too conveniently echoed the arguments of American conservatives), and I don’t now.
          I suspect he also shares Agnew’s and Trump’s dishonesty.

          • backwardsevolution
            August 20, 2017 at 2:52 am

            BobS – yes, it is interesting how he spelled out “how to take down a country” and – voila – that is exactly what is happening now, and all without the help of the Russians. Go figure!

            In fact, the Russians have had nothing to do with it. We’ve done it all on our own, specifically by pitting identity groups against each other. Divide and conquer.

            Like I said, you end up with nothing holding the country together. Weaken and wobble; we all fall down.

            Is that how diamonds are formed?

          • BobS
            August 20, 2017 at 8:07 am

            If this country is in fact going “down” (and I don’t accept your conclusion), it’s because of the anti-democratic forces that Bezmenov championed.

  19. mike k
    August 19, 2017 at 4:45 pm

    Testament

    The events we are experiencing these days are in the context of the collapsing American Empire, and the concurrent collapse of Industrial Civilization. The near term extinction of the human species will be a result of these twin processes. Much of the angst and confusion that many are feeling is related to this final drama of their species. Many will seek to deny this reality, even to the very end of their lives and those of many around them, desperately seeking to believe that this is not the final chapter of the human story.

    The truth is that there is nothing anyone or group of people can do now to avert this global mass dying. If anyone reading this should have looked unblinkingly and long into the certainty of our species extinction, and feels overwhelming sadness or depression as a result of discerning clearly our fate, I would offer this consideration: Reflect that your individual life will terminate in the near future, as will every other person living now. We manage somehow to live with this certainty, and continue our lives in spite of it. Thus the greater dying around the corner for all humans can be handled in a similar way. There is no reason on the basis of this knowledge to contemplate an early exit by suicide. One may continue living without obsessing over this knowledge of the coming end of us all.

    We have repeatedly violated Nature’s Law which dictates: Love or perish. An intelligent, and hence powerful species which does not make unconditional Love of all Life it’s prime directive and purpose is self-doomed to destroy itself. There is no God who judges us and imposes this harsh penalty, this is simply an impersonal law of reality. We have failed to obey this law, and we will soon experience the ultimate consequence – our species extinction.

    I offer this reflection to those who have already at least partially glimpsed it’s reality, and might seek some confirmation of their insight, and some words of consolation and loving reassurance in their lonely discovery. Strange as it might seem, this is my gift of Love to any such persons. Those who have not glimpsed this sad reality will not be concerned about it and will give it no further thought, so I am not worried that I may “push anyone over the edge”. Also, if you had the courage to uncover the secret of our collective demise, you will already have developed some of the qualities needed to live with this knowing, and possibly devote yourself to cultivating that Love of all living beings, the lack of which has doomed us, in spite of it’s present inability to alter our headlong rush over the precipice into extinction. My best Loving wishes to all of you, my imperfect fellow beings. And may those living beings that hopefully will remain on this beautiful planet, receive my best wishes for your continuing lives without us violent and heedless companions.

    As for myself, I plan to cease my efforts to awaken my sleeping brethren. It is fruitless, exhausting, and frustrating. Let them go sleeping into that good night. I recall Robinson Jeffers poem The Purse Seine –

    The sardine fishermen work at night in the dark of the moon;
    daylight or moonlight
    They could not tell where to spread the net, unable to see the
    phosphorescence of the shoals of fish.
    They work northward from Monterey, coasting Santa Cruz; off
    New Year’s Point or off Pigeon Point
    The look-out man will see some lakes of milk-color light on the
    sea’s night-purple; he points and the helmsman
    Turns the dark prow, the motorboat circles the gleaming shoal
    and drifts out her seine-net. They close the circle
    And purse the bottom of the net, then with great labor haul it in.

    I cannot tell you
    How beautiful the scene is, and a little terrible, then, when the
    crowded fish
    Know they are caught, and wildly beat from one wall to the
    other of their closing destiny the phosphorescent
    Water to a pool of flame, each beautiful slender body sheeted
    with flame, like a live rocket
    A comet’s tail wake of clear yellow flame; while outside the
    narrowing
    Floats and cordage of the net great sea-lions come up to watch,
    sighing in the dark; the vast walls of night
    Stand erect to the stars.

    Lately I was looking from a night mountain-top
    On a wide city, the colored splendor, galaxies of light: how could
    I help but recall the seine-net
    Gathering the luminous fish? I cannot tell you how beautiful
    the city appeared, and a little terrible.
    I thought, We have geared the machines and locked all together
    into interdependence; we have built the great cities; now
    There is no escape. We have gathered vast populations incapable
    of free survival, insulated

    From the strong earth, each person in himself helpless, on all
    dependent. The circle is closed, and the net
    Is being hauled in. They hardly feel the cords drawing, yet they
    shine already. The inevitable mass-disasters
    Will not come in our time nor in our children’s, but we and our
    children
    Must watch the net draw narrower, government take all powers
    -or revolution, and the new government
    Take more than all, add to kept bodies kept souls- or anarchy,
    the mass-disasters.

    These things are Progress;
    Do you marvel our verse is troubled or frowning, while it keeps
    its reason? Or it lets go, lets the mood flow
    In the manner of the recent young men into mere hysteria, splin-
    tered gleams, crackled laughter. But they are quite wrong.
    There is no reason for amazement: surely one always knew that
    cultures decay, and life’s end is death.

    • hatedbyu
      August 19, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      life finds a way

      • mike k
        August 20, 2017 at 8:02 am

        where it can

    • backwardsevolution
      August 19, 2017 at 10:32 pm

      OMG, how fatalistic.

      • mike k
        August 20, 2017 at 8:35 am

        Fate is like that. We have always had choices – they have got us to where we are now, and they will determine where we go next. Bad choices, bad results. Garbage in, garbage out. Unlove in, hate and destruction out. Our tragic fate is the outplaying of what is in our hearts. No one can force others to change against their will. We are collectively and mostly unconsciously choosing to act in ways that guarantee our suffering and ultimate self-destruction. The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls and tenement halls, but we are not reading or heeding them. Robinson Jeffers poem Rearmament describes our fatal path down the dark mountain.

        These grand and fatal movements toward death: the grandeur
        of the mass
        Makes pity a fool, the tearing pity
        For the atoms of the mass, the persons, the victims, makes it
        seem monstrous
        To admire the tragic beauty they build.
        It is beautiful as a river flowing or a slowly gathering
        Glacier on a high mountain rock-face,
        Bound to plow down a forest, or as frost in November,
        The gold and flaming death-dance for leaves,
        Or a girl in the night of her spent maidenhood, bleeding and
        kissing.
        I would burn my right hand in a slow fire
        To change the future … I should do foolishly. The beauty
        of modern
        Man is not in the persons but in the
        Disastrous rhythm, the heavy and mobile masses, the dance of the
        Dream-led masses down the dark mountain.

  20. August 19, 2017 at 4:56 pm

    What I find interesting in this article is that Bannon was impressed by the book,
    but does not mention one of the most serious points. I read “The fourth turning”
    and it is a very interesting book. I think that the authors don’t say that history goes
    in circles, but due to developments is more like a spiral staircase. However, the most
    important issue was to me that each time the “winter” starts with a war, and that the
    wars (remember the spiral) got increasingly worse. Strange or smart that Bannon
    does not mention this?

    • backwardsevolution
      August 19, 2017 at 10:36 pm

      Louise – it might be a civil war, or maybe none at all; just a complete crackdown. It almost seems as if we’re in the midst of a war now. Certainly Trump is in a war, a war with the Democrats, the Republicans, the media, intelligence agencies, etc.

  21. Charlie
    August 19, 2017 at 5:42 pm

    These guys better be careful with this thinking. Look at Venezuela as an example: their unraveling and subsequent crisis has been 25+ years in the making — yes, it predates Chavez — with no end in sight!

    • backwardsevolution
      August 19, 2017 at 10:41 pm

      Charlie – thought this was interesting re Venezuela:

      “To an agonizingly large degree, Venezuela’s crisis is of the government’s own making. Instead of easing or ending it, the government’s actions—and inactions—over the last several years have made it far worse. Yet, the government has not acted in a vacuum, but in a hostile domestic and international environment.

      The opposition has openly and repeatedly pushed for regime change by any means necessary. In addition to fostering a politically toxic climate, the opposition’s actions over the past three years—its refusal to recognize President Nicolás Maduro’s April 2013 victory, despite absolutely no evidence of electoral fraud; ensuing violence that targeted state-run health clinics and left at least seven civilians dead; another wave of violence beginning in February 2014 that left 43 dead, approximately half of them due to opposition actions; and recent and repeated calls for military and foreign intervention—have also had a very damaging economic effect.

      The US government has not only cheered, and funded, these anti-democratic actions. By absurdly declaring that Venezuela is an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security and pressuring investors and bankers to steer clear of the Maduro administration, the White House has prevented Venezuela from obtaining much-needed foreign financing and investment.”

      And there we go again – the U.S. in the thick of it, funding anti-democratic actions. It just doesn’t stop.

  22. August 19, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    Justin Raimondo’s Antiwar.com has an article on Trump’s decision with military commanders at Camp David over the past few days to escalate the war in Afghanistan, to which Bannon was opposed and for which his departure may have happened now.

    Also, Jeffrey St. Clair at Counterpunch has a piece, “To See or to Nazi: Trump’s Moral Blindspot is America’s”. One sentence was outstanding: “Trump is a familiar character to most of the world. He is the unvarnished embodiment of the American bully, who has stalked the planet for the last century, taking what it wants and leaving corpses and ruin in its wake.” He also said that the neocons would like to see Trump out because his behavior lays bare US aggression and doesn’t cloak it as US presidents usually do.

    As for psychic individuals such as Edgar Cayce, those of us who seem to live intellectually and have not developed our psychic potential, ought not to cast stones. “He who speaks does not know; he who knows does not speak.” — Lao-Tzu.

    • mike k
      August 20, 2017 at 10:31 am

      “He who knows, but does not speak permits nonsense and evil to rule the world.” – mike k

      I am not going to spill a lot of ink expounding this important topic of spiritual discrimination, and spiritual proof or the lack thereof. I have spent years of my life in the trenches working to clarify these important issues. I have known real “psychics” (who are very reluctant to reveal their abilities) and I have met a lot of “psychics” who were self-promoting fakes. It is important to learn to sort these things out. I have had to do the same sorting of my own meditative and other unusual experiences. My advice to anyone in these often murky waters is to heed the Biblical verse: “Beware lest the light in you be darkness.”

  23. MWP
    August 19, 2017 at 11:35 pm

    Pure masturbation. WTF. Trump does not give a shit about anything except making sure his ass is covered. Bannon is a wannabe sage who has no real knowledge of the human condition. History does indeed repeat itself because that is the nature of life. To suppose the U.S. is anyway an exception is bullshit. We deserve Trump and his stewardship toward our disaster. Wake up. There has never been anything else to do.

    • mike k
      August 20, 2017 at 10:32 am

      Good points.

  24. August 20, 2017 at 12:53 am

    “Both men are very smart. Trump understands business and Bannon finance.” Not so. Outside the confines of his inheritance financed real estate business, Trump’s record includes five bankruptcies, the withdrawal of funding from mainstream banks, and the reliance on shady Russians to keep his business afloat. Trump is a babbling fool.

    Bannon’s smarts include “giving aid to the enemy,” North Korea, when he said, “There’s no military solution.” As a member of the U.S. government with access to the president, Bannon revealed top secret information that will aid North Korea’s calculations with the information they lacked absent Bannon’s leak. How smart is that?

    These two took the biggest opportunity of their lifetimes and blew it in the most transparent way possible. Their intelligence is sorely lacking.

    • mike k
      August 20, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Exactly.

  25. fudmier
    August 20, 2017 at 2:48 am

    What bothers me in all of these comments is the failure to recognise that the USA has failed Americans.
    It does not matter what one leader of the USA has to say or what all of them have to say, or who in the USA wins/loses in the infighting; what matters is that the USA is completely and utterly useless to Americans, it does not serve the needs of Americans.

    Americans have a gigantic problem, the USA is not performing satisfactorily..the 527 persons we have elected to run the USA have decided to use their elected, salaried positions to do something entirely different from what we elected them to do

    Those on this list seem to be satisfied ambling on about what certain elected people and groups will do instead of insisting the 527 elected persons serve you as Americans, make clear to you as Americans not only the intentions of these powerful few, but also present to you as an American, in definitive terms just exactly how those intentions will serve you as an American.
    My neighbour expects to benefit from a bigger, bloodier war in Afghanistan. Neither he nor I know anyone from Afghanistan, have never done any business with anyone from Afghanistan, don’t know for sure where Afghanistan is on the map, or what language Afghanistanians speak but we know in our hearts that killing them all off, will really improve things here at home. The grass will grow slower, but will appear greener, the sky will appear bluer, but it will be lower.. such a benefit will only cost several trillion dollars a week… its crazy that Americans allow 527 persons to use “our great America” to make the 527 persons puppets and their puppet masters richer. What is good for Americans should be decided by Americans and made to happen by those “Americans” elect to run the show. If the elected cannot do that, or if the elected adopt their own agendas, then the elected should be sacked.

    Now lets look at what Afghanistan might do for the elected few and their surround sound criminals.. Its called LNG, oil and gas and other very profitable business. Killing off Afghanistan could prevent Russia from selling LNG and other important natural resources to people through Afghanistan (consider NORDII, which circumvented the USA Neocon blockade against Russia established in Ukraine) without paying the NEOCONS and it would hamper Russia competition against the Wall Street, gcc and Israel owned LNG (Oil and gas) businesse, (TILLERSON might explain better how NKorea and Afghanistan impact oil and gas markets and prices.

    Gaining political control of Afghanistan and NK would force China, to quit buying its oil and gas from Iran and Russia, and Qatar. (god forbid, the China market is huge. and if the oil and gas cartels could not exercise monopoly powers to raise the price of oil and gas, then all would be lost as competition would force global oil and gas prices to drop even further, meaning my neighbour could keep more of his money), A NEOCON controlled Afghanistan blocks easy access for Qatar, Iran, Turkey and Russia in reaching markets in parts of Europe and the Far East and china. This is what I think is meant when I hear, the Trade wars start Monday.

    How does LNG (oil and gas) relate to North Korea (NK buys a lot of things from Russia and Russia sells them natural gas) Russia sells Natural gas to China, and Europe, Russia is a major competitor to anyone in the oil and gas business because Russian oil and gas is cheap. Could it be trump has been invited into oil and gas business with the rest of them? NK is a gate to China markets.

    My 94 year old neighbour and I both know if the USA warriors kill off enough oil and gas competitors in foreign lands; the industry can strengthen oil and gas monopoly power throughout the world which would mean my neighbours cost of oil and gas will likely rise; and he is very excited about that because he can file bankruptcy this year instead of having to wait until next year. Avoid the rush, pay your taxes now, help the Neocons to kill off the competition, and then file bankruptcy so the NEOCONS can earn a good return on your money. Do it now, right now. THESE ARE My OPINIONS BASED ON MY LITTLE KNOWLEDGE and Understanding, i STAND CORRECTED UPON presentation OF NON FAKE FACTS that challenge the above.

    • BobS
      August 20, 2017 at 8:22 am

      One of the constants of American foreign policy in the 20th and 21st centuries is the geopolitics of fossil fuel- that didn’t start with neoconservatives and it wouldn’t change if they disappeared tomorrow. In my opinion, what many neoconservatives bring into the mix is putting security of Israel on a par with security of the US.
      By the way, there are 535 members of Congress (plus the president and VP).

    • mike k
      August 20, 2017 at 10:38 am

      Thanks fudmier, you are dead right, and a sense of humor as a bonus!

  26. Ian MacDonald
    August 20, 2017 at 11:52 am

    For those interested in an empirically supported model of broad social and historical patterns, derived from modern (cultural) evolutionary thought, check out “Secular Cycles”, “War and Peace and War”, and “Ages of Discord” by Peter Turchin (University of Connecticut). The last book in particular details the situation in the USA.

  27. Mild-ly Facetious
    August 20, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    Many thanx, Ian MacDonald for the heads-up on Peter Turchin — found brief review at http://www.peterturchin.com/ages-of-discord/

    In accord with his vision, foreboding actions have been taken by Trump. Most recent being; ‘Justice Dept. seeks personal info of 1.3M anti-Trump website users’

    By Ray Downs
    Aug. 15, 2017

    — The U.S. Department of Justice has demanded information about 1.3 million users of a website that helps people organize protests against President Donald Trump’s administration, the website’s hosting service announced Monday.

    Los Angeles-based Dreamhost said the department served the company a search warrant asking for “all information available to us about this website, its owner, and, more importantly, its visitors.”

    The website, disruptj20.org, was used by some protesters as a way to organize mass protests against Trump at his inauguration. Although the website appears to have been used to organize protests at the time, there hasn’t been an update on the site since March.

    The search warrant seeks a variety of specific information from the website’s visitors, including “names, addresses, telephone numbers and other identifiers, e-mail addresses, business information, the length of service (including start date), means and source of payment for services (including any credit card or bank account number), and information about any domain name registration.”

    Dreamhost criticized the Justice Department’s demands and said it plans to challenge it in court.

    “That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” Dreamhost said. “That should be enough to set alarm bells off in anyone’s mind.”

    According to CNN, 214 people were charged with felony rioting during mass protests at the president’s inauguration in Washington, D.C.
    http://www.upi.org

    “IF I HAD A HAMMER”

  28. Lookingglass
    August 20, 2017 at 5:44 pm

    One of the chief problems with journalism today is the development of tbe “fact space.” Facts seem to have become i creasingly prismatic, colored more deeply by emotionalism and subliminal anxiety, programs and agendas.

    The good thing about Mr. Cooke’s story is that he does report what Mr. Bannon said. The bad news is that there is no attempt to ascertain if there is a factual basis for Mr. Bannon’s statements. It turns out there is. The HUD recently reported $500B mossing. The Pentagon has reported at least $15T missing. The ‘real’ economy and the ‘real’ government have had removed from their possession everything that is not nailed down. A former HUD secretary stated the current missing money numbers at $49-54T, thats not a typo.

    Where is the awarness that these opinions of his and others are backed by actual facts? What we seem to have is a scarcity of fact sharing in media, offfset by shallow reporting, and propaganda, to cloud citizen awareness that they are being asset stripped. Combining that fact reporting with Mr. Bannon’s statements would better reflect Mr. Cooke’s long contribution to understanding correctly the full circumstances.

  29. Joe_the_Socialist
    August 20, 2017 at 11:08 pm

    ***

    Never interrupt your enemy when he’s experiencing an apocalyptic ‘unravelling’.

    ***

    FREE AMERICA

    NEW ELECTIONS

    ***

  30. elmerfudzie
    August 21, 2017 at 6:57 am

    The only “unsupportable welfare state” is the corporate welfare state. FDR mysteriously “found” the money to create a successful Social Security Administration (safety net) and a CCC program that rebuilt our nation by providing mass employment of our youth, ACCOMPLISHED IN THE MIDST OF A GREAT DEPRESSION with thirty five percent unemployment and a gaping hole in the tax revenue base of the US Treasury Department.. We all know who manufactures these fictitious and artificially created booms-and-busts, the Federal Reserve Board members! FDR told his fellow plutocrats, I’m paraphrasing here: if you don’t want a complete revolution, not witnessed since the French revolution, you guys better-“find ” the money, and you know what happened next? the money suddenly appeared, out-of-thin-air! imagine that! How odd, to find ourselves today, in a parallel situation, both political and economic, where once again, the “hour brings for the man”. When the likes of a Ron Paul, an MD with a six figure career, white and privileged, Republican, and what was it, that echoed FDR’s warning? Ron Paul’s call to the citizenry at large, to public-ally admit that: WE NEED A REVOLUTION!

  31. Hank
    August 24, 2017 at 10:10 am

    “hostile press, aiming to present Trump (falsely) as the “accidental President” who never really expected to win –” Vegas gave Trump a best 20-1 odds of winning to 200-1 odds of winning. The so-called hostile media “hyped” Clinton as a “shoe in” so why waist your time casting a useless vote for trump? Several other factors such as Clinton’s lack of genuine connection with the populace, health issues, emails, wikileaks evidence that Clinton stole the primary, etc. So I am Not Hostile but I believe Trump is an accidental president. He was not prepared, rushed to fill his cabinet and had LOTS of help from the deep state.

    • Hank
      August 24, 2017 at 10:11 am

      waste not waist lol

  32. Bill Cash
    August 25, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking Bannon has no influence with Trump. In a Jane Mayer interview, she said Trump met with Bannon the Wednesday before Bannon left and with Robert Mercer, Bannon’s and trump’s money man, on Thursday. There are reasons we can’t see who visits the White House. I’m sure they made an agreement that Bannon will be more useful outside right now. Both Bannon and Trump want Eric Prince to run the Afghan war with a private army and air force financed by the government. They weren’t in a strong position to make that argument right now but, wait, it will come around again.
    Bannon indeed was the mastermind behind Trump’s election. The Mercer’s brought him in when it looked hopeless. Bannon devised a chaos plan. Trump was already creating chaos but there was no plan behind it. Bannon structured it and created so much chaos, no one could fight it. Don’t underestimate the Mercers and Bannon.

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