Right and left insurgencies in the 2016 U.S. election spooked the bi-partisan Establishment. Gareth Porter explains how they are responding.
By Gareth Porter
The two most powerful think tanks in Washington, representing center-left and center-right political elites, have responded to the populist shocks of the 2016 presidential election by trying to reposition themselves and the Democratic and Republican Parties as more sympathetic to populist concerns even while maintaining their attachments to the interests of big business and the complex of war-making.
The Center for American Progress (CAP), linked to the Democratic Party establishment, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), which is close to the Republican Party, have issued two long papers in recent months reflecting their high anxiety over the rapid growth of populism on both sides of the Atlantic — especially in light of the shocking success of both Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump against Hillary Clinton and mainstream Republicans during the 2016 presidential election cycle.
But the papers suggest that neither organization is ready to depart from the economic and military policies preferred by the powerful elites that still control the two major parties. And the more recent paper attacks Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders for being insufficiently hawkish in regard to Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
An initial joint paper published on May 10 urged the two parties to make far-reaching changes in policy and operations, citing their “need to recognize that they are in a moment of crisis — a moment that could portend a long-term realignment — and develop a strategy for managing change.” It also warned that they “got into the current crisis by seeming indifferent to the concerns that drive constituencies drawn to extreme populists.”
The authors of that paper further identified a series of “striking commonalities” between left-wing and right-wing populism in the United States regarding attitudes toward key issues: “deep suspicion of America’s overseas military actions; alarm about the rise of a surveillance state; mistrust of major institutions; and suspicion of global elites.”
Endless Wars and Recession
They pointedly warned, “Much of this cynicism is borne from the endless wars since the beginning of the 21st century as well as the experience of the Great Recession — ascribed by many to the misdeeds of an elite that avoided accountability.”
The paper also said parties “need to support structural changes to the political system that will increase the responsiveness and accountability of electoral representatives.”
Those recommendations suggested a sense of urgency about making radical changes. But none of the 31 top executives and vice-presidents of CAP were involved in the writing or approved the text. It was co-written by Vikram Singh, CAP’s former vice president for national security and international policy and now a senior fellow; Liz Kennedy, CAP’s senior director for democracy and government reform, and Dalibor Rohac, a research fellow on European political and economic trends at AEI.
In an interview with me, Singh explained that the views expressed were only those of the authors and had not been approved by senior-level CAP officials.
Like the initial paper, a joint CAP-AEI statement released on July 31, co-authored by Singh, Rohac and Danielle Pletka, AEI’s senior vice-president for foreign and defense policy, strikes a conciliatory tone toward the rising tide of populism. It also recognizes the abject failure of institutions and policies to which the establishments in both parties were committed. But in the end, it shies away from any alternative policies.
The three co-authors suggest that populism “is not inherently bad” and reject “futile attempts to conserve the status quo.” They concede, “The shortcomings of the [European Union], NATO, [World Trade Organization], and other forms of international cooperation have provided a fertile ground for those calling to upend existing structures.”
Even more remarkable, they acknowledge that US- and European-led military interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have mired the United States and Europe in “long and unpopular wars,” and that “limited intervention in Syria” had “led to much of the refugee crisis that hit Europe’s shores in the summer of 2015.”
That language — especially on Iraq — could not have been easy for Danielle Pletka of AEI to accept. She was one of the small group of neoconservatives in Washington who had pushed for implanting pro-US Iraqi exile leader Ahmad Chalabi in power by military force. Pletka has never admitted that the war was a mistake and has continued to blame the state of chaos in Iraq on the failure of the Obama administration to keep troops there.
Aware of Suffering
The authors refer to a “deepening frustration” over a globalization that had brought “unprecedented worldwide growth” but also “led to economic stagnation and structural unemployment, particularly in the West.” They further acknowledge that the financial crisis of 2008 had an “impact on the middle class in developed economies as well as confidence in the free enterprise system’s ability to deliver shared prosperity.”
The authors warn that the “threat of authoritarian populism will not recede unless a new generation of political leaders offers a credible agenda for improving people’s lives that is more appealing to the public than the populist alternatives.”
But Singh and Pletka offer no suggestion of an alternative to the economic management model that has caused such socioeconomic distortions and dislocation. In the only hint of future policy direction, they write, “Both the political right and left need to make a stronger case for economic openness as a cornerstone of the West’s prosperity.”
Furthermore, Singh and Pletka use the joint statement to push for toughening the US and European stances toward Russia, and to accuse two main left-wing opponents of the Democratic Party centrist establishment — Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein and Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders — of having been apologists for Russia or Russian President Vladimir Putin, or very close to it. In both cases, however, the charges are without foundation and amount to a reversion by CAP and AEI to McCarthy-style political smears.
They write that Stein “justified Russian aggression” by declaring that “NATO has been surrounding Russia with missiles, nuclear weapons, and troops.” And in an interview with me last week, Singh said, “Stein is an apologist for Russia and for Putin. She is inclined to say the U.S. is to blame.”
In the interview to which the CAP-AEI statement referred, the Green Party leader did indeed say, “NATO has been surrounding Russia with missiles, nuclear weapons, and troops,” which was literally true. But she did not suggest that this situation “justified Russian aggression.” Responding to a question about Russian annexation of Crimea and involvement in the war in Ukraine, Stein referred to the US support for “regime change” through the armed uprising in Ukraine in 2014. “Regime change is something we need to be very careful about,” Stein said. “And this is a highly inflammatory regime change with a nuclear armed power next door.”
Stein’s assertion that Russian moves in Crimea and Ukraine came in response to U.S. support for regime change was not substantially different from a commentary published by CAP in 2017. The only difference between them was that CAP supported the U.S. policy of support for regime change in Ukraine rather than opposing it.
Contacted for her comment on the statements made by CAP-AEI and Singh about her, Stein said, “It’s telling that anyone who rejects the oversimplified Cold War narrative and addresses the real-world complexity of geopolitics gets accused of siding with the enemy by CAP and other shills for the bipartisan war party.”
Pletka and Singh also question whether Sen. Bernie Sanders has been sufficiently supportive of NATO. While acknowledging that Sanders had issued a statement in 2016 supporting a NATO role in protecting Eastern Europe “against any kind of Russian aggression,” they accuse Sanders of having been “concerned about the alliance’s expansion to the East” as provocative of Russia in 1997.
Singh conceded in an interview with Truthout that Sanders’s skepticism about NATO expansion in 1997 “is not per se evidence of being an apologist for Russia.” But he added, “It quickly gets very close to saying it’s our fault — we provoked them.”
But Singh and Pletka were ignoring the fact that in the mid-1990s, many of the most experienced US government specialists on Europe had opposed the Clinton administration’s decision to expand NATO into former Soviet territory in Central Europe and the Baltics. In 1995, a group of 18 former senior Pentagon and State Department officials and diplomats had warned against NATO expansion as likely to provoke Russian geopolitical countermoves and proposed as a non-provocative alternative bringing Central European states into the European Union and its nascent defense organization.
Among those opposing Clinton’s policy were Paul Nitze, a major US Cold War strategist and the main US negotiator of arms control agreements with the Soviet Union, as well as former US ambassadors to the Soviet Union, West Germany, East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic and Bulgaria.
Singh and Pletka were thus using what was supposed to be a reconsideration of populism as a response to serious failures of centrist governments to stigmatize leading left-wing US figures for positions on US policy that are shared by many mainstream analysts. That tactic takes on more sinister implications in the present atmosphere of almost complete political and media unanimity in believing that Russia is an existential threat to US democracy.
The attacks on Stein and Sanders provide further evidence that these centrist power centers have been unable to resist clinging to familiar policies and political strategies long after they have proven to be a path to political disaster.
This article was originally published on TruthOut.
Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian writing on US national security policy. His latest book, Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, was published in February of 2014. Follow him on Twitter: @GarethPorter.
Progress must be rooted in reality, or it dies. Recognize that we have a deep split among those who are not on the right wing, middle class vs. poor, workers vs. those left jobless — an issue that liberal media have avoided or marginalized since the 1990s. When confronted, they simply say, “Stop being divisive!” (It’s true, too, that they’ve sometimes welcomed the poor to join the fight to protect the middle class…) This is reality, and it’s necessary to keep this in mind.
CAP is a Clinton/Podesta monster.
It’s aforementioned thesis/attacks cannot be taken as surprising.
God save us from Liberal boomers like any of the above. They are for “accountability” and drastic restrictions on the free speech rights of those who disagree with them. What they are really in favor of is one party rule along the lines of San Francisco and Chicago dressed up with a lot of high sounding “humanitarian” cant.
The author’s title also explains the pumping of trillions of freshly printed (figuratively) dollars into the western financial system since 2008 in an orchestrated effort by all the Fed controlled central banks in conjunction with its ugly step-sister ZIRP, stealthily stealing wealth from every saver to buy up all the bad paper, along with stocks and bonds in order to control those markets, putting wealth inequality on steroids, backstopping the ECB to prevent the early breakup of the doomed European Union, cleverly inflating all the major currencies simultaneously to prevent destabilizing capital outflows, holding the global wealth extraction game together by hook, but mostly by crook. Thus, keeping populist revolts at bay, but for how long?
Kudos to Realist, for his comments being included in The Automatic Earth author Raúl Ilargi Meijer’s recent interview on Julian Assange: https://youtu.be/4nUpV8JR38c
How Central Bankers reshaped the world economy following the 2008 economic crisis
Thanks, Jean. Excellent interview, and timely validation for my previous comment.
In D.C., Sept. 26, Prins, Kuttner, Stanley and Naylor will discuss, “…the implications of the collapse of Lehman Brothers investment bank ten years ago, [and] …the major issues gripping the economy today.” At the conclusion of the meeting, Nomi Prins and Robert Kuttner will sign copies of their new books.
“Four Senior Economists In Dialogue On the Ten Year Anniversary of the Failure of Lehman Brothers”
“Four Senior Economists In Dialogue On the Ten Year Anniversary of the Failure of Lehman Brothers”
Date: September 26
Place: National Press Club, 529 14th St NW, Washington, DC
with the control of police and communication systems subject to politicized and centralized command and control, keeping the revolutions at bay is a matter of choice.
We see what they did with outside agitators in Ferguson MO. The locals did not set fire to the shops and stores they frequented.
Add in the false flags, and we can be pretty sure that if the revolution happens, it will be televised and orchestrated aforehand.
I truly wish someone would write about WHY they wish to act so aggressively toward Russia; WHY they are destroying African and mid-eastern countries. These people wanting these things certainly must have some justifiable reason for this kind of aggression. How do they justify it? And please do not speak of how they justified it to the American people. We already know they are lying. I want to know how they justify it to themselves.
It’s all in the name of greed and absolute control of the world’s resources. Deep down, they all know the truth.
Ding! Ding! Ding! That is correct! Tell her what’s she’s won, Johnny…
Sanders would have won
Trump is a stiff middle finger to the bush republicans and GOP.
Trump voters voted against the bush wars and free trade
Ditto Sanders voter
The truth is that we pretend that we have democracy and freedom when we don’t.Nothing makes that more clear than the last election.
Trump as despicable as he is is fighting all the right institutions, from the TPP to the WTO and NATO to the criminal CIA and FBI.
Hate Trump all day ( I do) but recognize that there is a military coup happening here and trying to oust a duly elected president ( as awful as trump is ) because Hillary is the only human being in history who could cheat and still lose to her own pied piper baboon.
A baboon who wants to work with Russia and tried to pull us out of Syria and has gotten further with N Korea than any other president in my lifetime.
I don’t like Trump but will give him props for trying to take on the neoconservatives agenda and the neoliberals who would enslave us all.
Trump says he will pull out of Syria, get along with Russia etc but he never follows through……just bull
Trump tried to pull out of Syria and there was yet another chemical attack……blamed on Assad with zero evidence.
Trump did meet Putin ,while the media and deep state called it TREASON……and the Poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal?The UK is neck deep in this ruse too.
The Russia-gate ruse is crumbling under its own weight and without it people will rightly start to see that it was all a set up and coup from the start and the FBI and CIA and justice dept were ALL colluding and conspiring……including Obama.
Bigger than water gate ,much bigger, and dont think these mass murdering sociopaths would think twice about another terror attack in the USA if would save their slimy skins.You can smell their desperation through the Television.Russia- gate is too big to fail now……..and they know it.
A point that is rather studiously avoided (by Dems and libs) is that Sanders lost much of his former support.with his 2016 campaign. Most voting choices, research has consistently confirmed, come down to economic issues. Sanders had long claimed support for democratic socialism — a system that does, in fact, ensure incomes for the jobless poor. He spoke out strongly about poverty as the consequence of our significantly-flawed capitalism, and he advocated for legitimate poverty relief programs. This doesn’t sell to post-(Bill) Clinton Dem voters. Sanders dumped the poor by the time of his 2016 campaign, acknowledging no one worse off than min. wage workers. He topped it off with urging his supporters to vote for pro-war, anti-poor Hillary Clinton. Much of his (former) base noticed.
Well, but then he appoints Bolton. Not clear he has much of an idea what he’s doing. He may be going after these institutions for reasons that have nothing to do with your (and my) objections to them.
I believe they know way up there what’s wrong, but the deep down keeps interfering, such as: I can put my hands where ever I want etc., we have been ruled by perverts in politics and church for centuries.
They can act as they do because they are utter solipsists, that is people who believe that they are the only conscious entities in existence, that the rest of us are strictly figments of their imagination and here to amuse and serve them. They perforce must equally loathe, use and betray one another because each individual’s needs and wants are the only thing that matters in the whole contrived (from their perspective) universe. No other explanation seems to fit a willingness to kill millions and risk destroying all life to satisfy their own ego. If they didn’t fill high positions in government, the military or big business, they’d be institutionalised in psychiatric wards.
Why? Because they are the hole in the donut. They are the hungry ghosts.
They justify it as WINNING!!! They justify it as filling the craving, the desire for more. Always more.
This is the nature of conquest. This is the nature of empire.
This essay explains it here
They have to vilify Russia for so many reasons… the first being to cover up their own corruption. But since the US and SA are attacking Syria yet again today, I’m guessing it was to make Americans distrust, hate and fear Russians so they won’t believe anything RT reports about it (which is real news).
Anastasia and others, the US repeats policies that fail to achieve stated objectives such as the 1) spread of democracy and human rights, 2) protecting the supply of energy (oil exports fall when a country is attacked of subject to chronic civil war or terrorist attacks or even 3) maintaining hegemony or control (nobody controls Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria or South Sudan today after US interference in those countries). The only conceivable reason why intelligent people continue the same policies that fail to meet stated objectives is that those aren’t the real objectives.
Now, consider the institutional imperatives of the MIC, the 3 Ps: Profits for arms manufacturers and military contractors, Promotions for military brass and civilian employees of the Deep State and corporate media and Pork for Congressional representatives. Nothing contributes to those imperatives like constant and widespread chaos all over the world. Measured against the institutional imperatives, US foreign and military policies are a blockbuster success.
” The only conceivable reason why intelligent people continue the same policies that fail to meet stated objectives is that those aren’t the real objectives.”
YES, YES, Yes!
As Sam Husseini says, the stated objectives are not the real objectives.
who is /are this they you speak of? who wishes to act aggressively? Who are these ” ” that you know are lying? If you cannot identify those of which you of speak , how can we know “they” exist? please explain. Be specific. Who=name, what=fact. where=place, when=date, how=system ,why=motive or lack thereof. This is journalism and not emotions.
Who are “they?”…Everyone in the Bilderberg Group, everyone in the MIC with few exceptions, everyone in the Congress again with rare exceptions, everyone in AIPAC, everyone in ALEC, everyone in the WTO, everyone in the IMF, everyone in NATO (or that expansion would be stopped), everyone who runs big American corporations (oligarchs). Do you know Prospect for a New American Century?…everyone in that group. You want names…look up any of these groups. I might add the leaders of the Republican and Democratic Parties as well.
Who are “they not?” Russia, Iran, Syria and those countries before they were destroyed by the US: Iraq, Lybia, Ukraine, Chile, Iran when Mosedegh was there, Cuba, and many more countries ruined by the US in South America. Now, you must have noticed, the US has nearly 900 military bases. Russia? 21.
Ukraine [the Kievists] are in the thick of it. The Maidan Coup Government colluded with the DNC to get – or manufacture – Steele dossier dirt on Trump/Manafort. (Maybe, you say, the average Ukrainian is a dupe….. but so is the average American.)
Check out extensive research by Lee Stranahan about Ukrainian-American DNC operative Alexandra Chalupa…. Ukrainian Embassy (in DC) whistleblower Andrii Telizhenko ….. and much more.
They target Russia out of fear. The Soviet government/Russian economy had collapsed in the 1990s, to the joy of US political and financial powers. Russia, however, quickly got back on its feet, rebuilt, and is once again seen as a political and economic competitor/rival, a threat t6o US dominance (however much dominance still exists). While Russia has been making significant progress, the US has been doing just the opposite (in every sense) for years. The new version of the “Red Scare” is intended to build public support for (ultimately) war against Russia, hoping to knock down the competition.
US wars in the Mideast continue for the same reason as always: Maintaining control over US oil interests in the region. US conflicts in both Africa and South America concern US interests/control over oil and other resources that are abundant in those regions.
there is no need for justification when one worships mammon, and/or one is a psychopath
Russia ‘s main crime is failure to be submissive Washington, DC.
And reporting the truth about them via RT.
I believe the recently manufactured drama of the New York Times Anon. Op-Ed we keep hearing about also is the direct result of the establishment’s bi-partisan fear of popular revolt.
Here’s an excellent take on The NY Times Op-Ed: Who Done It?.
That Trump’s subordinates ignore his crazier orders is hardly surprising.
You mean like pulling out from Syria and wanting peace with Russia?…….ya crazy!
One week Trump says Saudi Arabia is responsible for 9/11 and we should bomb them. Next week Trump is dancing a jig with Saudi terrorists selling them billion$ in weapons.
It is physically impossible to follow orders when someone who consistently contradicts himself is giving the orders.
Thats the difference between being a NY citizen and President of the largest arms dealer on the planet bar none and a country dependent on the petro dollar.
Indeed! It’s almost as if there’s more than one person living in his head.
The Saudis blow up the towers in New York… why not unlike Trump Tower itself!
Trump says, “Boo terrorists, boooooo!”
Trump also gets on the first damn flight he can take to the land of Aladdin, rubs the magic lamp, gets Robin Williams to come out in a puff of smoke, and now let’s see if he can make money rain from the sky!
Here’s the rain dance now. Just look at ’em go! Go Donnie, go! Donnie Be Good!
Osama bin Laden was a rich Saudi and now we sell his people bombers.
It’s a travesty of a mockery of a sham.
I think some the perceived self-contradiction DT displays results from his being made explicity aware of how delicata a position he is in, every time he might have an objectively sensible policy (like improved relations with Russia, negotiating directly with NK, etc.). The events of 1963 clearly indicate not even a president’s life is sacrosanct. DT is a veteran of the New York commercial real estate scene; obviously he’s had some connection with the mob at some point. But when you get a senior member of the senate going on national tv essentially saying the NY mob is as nothing compared to the initial-bearing mob in DC, that alone should indicate the situation DT finds himself in. He will be permitted to throw dog whistle-style, chauvinistic bones to his psuedo brown shirt base on things like immigration and pollution controls; but as far as the establishment’s overarching agenda is concerned, he will do exactly as told, as everyone (including Carter) has done since Kennedy.
By Francis Navarro, Komando.com
Verizon’s media division Oath, which now owns both AOL and Yahoo, has merged the privacy policies of the two widely used online services and email providers around the US. And you know what this means – the updated terms will bring changes of how the company (Verizon) can utilize customer data and what it’s allowed to do with it.
If you can recall, Verizon bought Yahoo in 2016 (amidst news of its massive data breach) and AOL in 2015. Under the Oath umbrella, expect that the two services will be sharing data with its mother company Verizon, as well.
From Kim Komando:
Read on and we’ll break down what Oath, AOL and Yahoo’s new privacy policies mean for you. You probably won’t like what you’re about to hear.
They reserve the right to read everything including all of your email content you send over AOL or Yahoo or Verizon.
That’s right. they will absolutely read every one of your emails and scrutinize them for stuff they can target market.
If you recently checked your Yahoo or AOL email, you’ve most likely received this messagel announcing the updates to Yahoo and AOL’s privacy policies. It explains briefly that the merger of Yahoo and AOL to form Oath is unifying the terms of service of websites and services under the Oath umbrella.
Before you click “I Accept,” there are a few things you need to know about.
In a nutshell, if you accept, it means that all the sites and services owned by Oath will now have the right to read and scan your emails, private messages, SMS, videos and photos and use the data for marketing and targeted advertising purposes.
Although Oath’s data analysis FAQ says that its automatic scanning process can “automatically remove any information that could reasonably identify the recipient” before its human employees can manually review the data to improve its services, there’s no clear-cut indication on how this process is performed.
Oath’s Privacy Promise?: All your photo and video data belong to us
You can turn off your camera’s EXIF and metadata features, of course, but this won’t stop Oath from scanning and analyzing your photo and video content.
Your banking emails are fair game for Oath to spy on.
Oath says that this enables the company to “build features that interact with such institutions” but lo and behold, it also allows them to send targeted ads via the data mined from your emails betwen you and your Bank. Who knows what else will they do with your banking data.
So if you have issues with how the company is using your data and you have concerns about your privacy, this clause indicates that it will be difficult to sue them. You agreed with its new privacy terms in the first place, right?
Should you stop using Yahoo and AOL email?
Based on these changes, you’ll have to be careful about what you send through these services if you care about your privacy. With the amount of data they’re storing and scanning, you may be just one data breach away from a complete disaster. (Yahoo customers should know.) Your private communications and your online banking transactions are now owned by “Oath” a data mining company which now owns all of your emails.
While there’s a way to opt out of Oath’s targeted ads via its privacy controls, this affords no protection against the company’s data collection practices at all.
Oath also owns other services, like social media site Tumblr, and the new privacy policies also apply to them as well.
You will need to dig hard for information on the Internet that has not been filtered by Oath. They claim they are reading your emails in order to target you for preference based advertisements but really they are reading your emails for whatever purposes they can use to both market you and identify you and learn about you and spy on you.
The NSA and Verizon and AT&T (Operation Hemisphere) and the CIA (Operation Hemisphere) and all the Intelligence agencies and all of the major ISPs are granting themselves the rights to read your emails like a wiretapping operation but without the legal basis formerly required by law to justify a wiretap on individuals over telephone lines.
They accomplish this by getting you to sign over and waive your rights, by accepting their terms. They short circuit the systems of law by foisting upon their customers their “new” terms of service which robs their customers of their privacy rights, denies their ability to contest ISP practices and allows ISPs unfettered access to your emails, browser history, electronic communications and every electron sent over the ISPsaccess portals including all of your online banking records.
Verizon and Oath have clearly established a legal framework that needs to be overhauled and ruled by The Supreme Court of the land as an unconstitutional abrogation (the stealing of freedom of speech for Citizens) as guaranteed by the US Constitution.
It is unlikely that a reform act will be introduced in the Congress of the United States of America. It is also likely that the Supreme Court will uphold the rights of ISPs to spy on the electorate meaning the sum of the body politic who are Citizens of the country.
The Supreme Court is the last bastion and it has fallen into the hands of the wathiest Americans to the detriment of the majority of us all.
Trying to maintain personal secrecy and privacy in a paranoid society is a losing game. I gave up on encryption long ago. We will not prevail by developing greater secrecy than our oppressors. The open society we seek will not come about through practicing greater secrecy. If personal security is our main goal, then being an activist becomes something to be avoided. A risk free life however is not worth living.
You can now permanently get off Facebook. I did it.
You do NOT have to use google, yahoo, etc.
You can use duckduckgo.com and NOT be tracked and NOT your information collected ever.
In other words, Zuckerberg and other censors of his ilk can be thwarted.
The title is exactly what the elite fear the most: “The Establishment’s Bi-Partisan Fear of Popular Revolt”.
The United States is a republic, not a democracy. You get to elect the representatives, and they get to make policy. That’s the way they like it. They don’t want uppity citizens demanding this, that and the other, especially when they’ve already promised to write some favorable laws for some corporation who was nice enough to pay them off. This is how it works.
The individual states have lost their power. It’s now one big state run out of Washington, governed over by a uni-party (the Democrats and Republicans). A one-state government, not unlike the one-world government the elites envision for the whole world.
Same as in Europe. The countries have lost their sovereignty as the European Union, with unelected bureaucrats, makes decisions for them.
This is why, whenever a populist leader comes along, they pull out the threats of there being a white supremacist around every corner, silence people with accusations of anti-semitism and racism, scream out that the Nazis are coming! This is when “divide and conquer” tactics, using hired people sometimes, goes into full force. Look what they’re doing to Corbyn. Even Obama was out today or yesterday talking about white supremacists, trying to scare the herd back in line. “You want a border around your country? Well, what kind of country does that?” they scream out, as if that’s a new thing and foreign to every other country out there!
They know that none of these accusations are true. The bought-and-paid-for media spring into action and tar and feather whoever is a threat to their keepers.
It’s disgusting, and it is done to keep the sheeple in line, keep them fighting. You are their biggest threat, that you might dare ask for single-payer health care, for example. Oh, the horror.
Or you might dare ask that tariffs be applied to the products that the U.S. multinationals manufacture in China in order to force them to bring the jobs that they offshored so long ago back home. Double horror! No, you’re just supposed to keep buying their products on your minimum wage job at the 7-11.
Oh the Horror! The Horror of Health Care provided by the Government:
Ronald Reagan was all over this the the 1950s
Communists in your doctors office? Of course they are all communists. They are creeping up our national flagpole and are gnawing at the stars and stripes of the American Flag.
Evil Communist bastards are always behind what the conservatives want you to believe are behind everything that might benefit you. Ronald Reagan was a PR Man for the AMA.
Sorry for the BS but there is no video of Reagan’s speech in 1961 which has not been dubbed with conservative BS.
CitizenOne – and the Democrats have equally quashed any thought of single-payer:
“When Dr. David Himmelstein of the Harvard Medical School pressed Mrs. Clinton on single payer, she replied, ‘Tell me something interesting, David.’
In other words, write Hamburger and Marmor: “Fewer than six weeks into the Clinton presidency, the White House had made its key policy decision: before the Health Care Task Force wrote a single page of its 22-volume report to the President, the single payer idea was written off, and ‘managed competition’ was in.”. . .
Reported Thomas Bodenehimer in Nation: “Around Hillary Rodham Clinton’s health reform table sit the managed-competition winners: big business, hospitals, large (but not small) commercial insurers, the Blues, budget-worried government leaders and the ‘Jackson Hole Group,’ the chief intellectual honchos of the managed competition movement. . . Adherence to the mantra of managed competition appears to be the price of a ticket of admission to this gathering.”
Bi-partisan fear of popular ideas.
The US has been oligarchic from the beginning.
The elites ARE the oligarchs.
Just like the anonymous self-proclaimed patriot, they are howling:
“Trump is a threat to Democracy!”
How can there be a threat to something that does not exist?!
Themselves, they have white-anted democracy and replaced it by 1) a ‘pay for play’ system, and 2) by sowing destabilisation and destruction throughout the world.
It is a kind of mind control, where you rouse people emotions for things that do not exist, and garnering people’s support by creating [yet another] false premise.
It makes perfect sense that the official left and right would cooperate to try and shore up their discredited state. The nominal left and right parties do not contend because they are functional complements. The right is a big tent, any lunatic can be a Republican as long as you hate the other party. The nominally left Democratic party, by contrast, is responsible for absorbing and crippling reformist initiatives. The GOP polarizes the electorate and the Dems circumscribe the adversarial discourse.
That’s why CAP, speaking for Democrats, takes the lead in McCarthyite propaganda against the Greens and leaves the authoritarian AEI to make populist noises. The Greens have used their vice-presidential picks to promote an unanswerable platform of human rights and rule of law. They don’t bother contesting elections because their veeps have grassroots organizations independent of the parties. That is the existential threat: that an infantilized population will come to realize that there’s more to civil society than busy-box electoral politics. Since the 1970s empirical research has shown that party loyalists are the least politically mobilized segment of society. They pick a side and wave their pom-poms in the stands, oblivious of the immiserizing platform their party shoves down their throat. If even a small portion of the population catches on to the revolutionary nature of international solidarity in people-centered human rights, both of the government’s decoy parties are dead.
There is no “left “ in the Democratic Party
Democrats are now to the right of Nixon
Unfortunately such a revolt would require leaders, even if underground and dispersed and disguised. We The People cannot trust our communication network when all communication and metadata is stored in a Giant Complex in Utah that never had to undergo Congressional Approval IN THE PUBLIC EYE. Utah after all. They are Faith based. And any public meeting is attended by moles and all organizations are subject to infiltration. We live in a surveillance state and a police state. It has been this way since Greece, Rome ( Ancient Times), the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution….., only the Founding Fathers had privacy , by distance. A few thoughts , during the 99% protests our Congress, Senate and President Frack authorized limits to Freedom of Assembly in the National Defense Authorization Act. This idea was originally floated by Clinton (Bubba Blythe) but could gain no traction at the time. Obama betrayed the American People when he signed this because our Supreme Court, which is stacked by Originalist and Activist Judges (Pre – Kavanaugh) , would never repeal this obviously Unconstitutional statute even if anyone could ever gain”standing” to challenge it’s Constitutionality in the first place. Same NDAA Obama institutionalized fake news when he signed authorization for an office of propaganda in the Pentagon. .The task was and is to condition public opinion . It has been fully funded in subsequent NDAA’s . Wanna bet? This happened with no Declaration of War anywhere. We are now an Orwellian State for want of a better term. I don’t trust any of you. How could I? Who will lead any potential revolt? Who could? In short, paranoia serves a political purpose. It is it’s only reward. If I maty borrow a famous line from the past, ” The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”> And business is grweat the Economy is on fire and the Stock Market has no ceiling. Ha Ha Ha the joke is on me because I understand it? My problem. Peace,
Nothing accurate will ever come out of liberal or conservative think tanks because their field of view is ultra-narrow. They may actually nail some of the causes of popular discontent, but they are incapable of finding solutions that aren’t twisted by their ideologies. For example, they both recognize that one area of popular discontent is a “deep suspicion of America’s overseas military actions,” Yet, their “solution” is to deny that NATO is part of the problem, and to blame Stein. It’s a waste of time even talking to these people — but more enlightened people should have an alternative think tank to counter the fantasies coming out of the Dem-Rep ones.
I agree, but this is our think tank. Where people who actually think things over participate in discussions online, even using synonyms, and even realizing that the discussions are between strangers, this is true. One difference between this public think tank and the ones mentioned in the article is that our influence extends only to those who read comments on websites.
The party funded think tanks influence actual policy in cases where they aren’t just given their talking points by those who make policy. I tend to ignore them. What they perceive as an alarming trend of nationalism, or any other ‘ism’, looks more to me like more people waking up to realities. Maybe they should be alarmed. Their influence is in danger of drying up.
If I could have one super power it would be to convince hundreds of millions of Americans to stop going to work and stop paying taxes until these people listen to us.
Actually, the linked joint paper of AEI and CAP had some accurate statements, perhaps most statements were accurate. But it had zero constructive proposals. It would be more accurate to form a Heisenberg type principle, e.g. the sum of accuracy and usefulness of products of established think tanks is zero. In the above example, the mission of the piece seems to be that our elites are aware that not everything is as good as it could be and we can patiently wait until they wisely take it into account. In other words, “admitting problems” is strategically incomplete, small positive part of the sum, and the purpose that is partially accomplished, the negative part of the sum, is to prevent or delay any action that could remedy those partially admitted problems.
If you vote Dem or Rep or enlist, you are an accessory to murder. You may not be pulling the trigger but you’re driving the getaway car.
Thank you sir!
So what do we have: one guy who ended up in the White House who thinks our Russian policy(which he seems to have no hand in) is near-sighted, dangerous and insane. Everyone else either joins in Russia bashing or stands meekly by while it happens. One guy, who somehow ends up with people as advisers like Bolton and Halley who are as rabid as the rest of the Russian bashers.
Given the resilience of the crazy one guy, are those who see him as a great danger willing to allow him to go before the people in 2020?
Who is this guy in the White House? How did he get elected? Where did he get these crazy ideas and questions that infuriates so many? Maybe he got these ideas by putting on a disguise and sitting in a local bar and listening to working guys lament.
Standing in line waiting to vote in 2016 I recall my reaction to the kinds of people voting. Lots of guys who just off a job as an electrician or a plumber, maybe a home improvement guy. And it was a different kind of crowd than the typical civic minded who see voting as their duty.
Most of us now are in a difficult and confusing situation, where the people and institutions that we count on to help us have betrayed us, and really only serve the interests of the mad power addicts at he top of our social pyramid. The version of reality our media sells to us is based almost totally on lies and myths that keep us enslaved to a lethal system that we are told is for our own good. Asking basic questions and learning to really think for ourselves is definitely not on our culture’s agenda, which is to conform us to it’s infantile groupthink, while picking our pockets of what little money we may have managed to acquire. Awaking to our real situation is a painful and rare occurrence, which is just the way our Rulers like it.
I know that by posting this interview of Roger Waters on RT puts me in jeopardy of being called a Soviet KGB Colonel by all the talking heads on MSNBCCN but, alas, that is my fate.
Full disclosure: I have not listened to Rock and Roll for at least thirty years but I suspect that Mr. Waters is a very nice man.
Stephen P – thanks for posting that interview. Yes, Mr. Waters does seem a very nice man, a questioning man, a feeling man. Certainly not a conformist type. I say we need more Mr. Waters in this world.
“Today’s music ain’t got the same soul
I like that old-time rock ‘n’ roll”
I watched that interview a little while ago. Roger Waters is not only a great musician, but very politically astute.
Listening to Pink Floyd’s The Wall and watching the film did as much for my understanding of politics as reading George Orwell’s 1984 and seeing the John Hurt/ Richard Burton film. Both occurred around the same time in my life (I remember because all this happened in 1984, literally). The medium is the message. Thoughts. Images. Sounds. Tremendously important.
Max Blumenthal has done some excellent writing on the White Helmets:
Inside the Shadowy PR Firm Lobbying for Regime Change in Syria
How the White Helmets Became International Heroes While Pushing US Military Intervention and Regime Change in Syria.
Mr. Waters is indeed a “very nice man,” but even better, he’s smart as a whip.
“The authors warn that the “threat of authoritarian populism will not recede unless a new generation of political leaders offers a credible agenda for improving people’s lives that is more appealing to the public than the populist alternatives.””
The threat to the Plutocracy is not “authoritarian populism”, as “authoritarian populism” is a contradiction of terms. They infuse their speech with this propaganda to subvert thinking. Genuine Populism, which is their real concern, is what threatens the Plutocracy. Authoritarian Plutocracy, which is the current form of government in the USA, is an accurate description of who the CAP and the AEI represent.
I applaud Jill Stein for always cutting to the chase and speaking truth to power. It is amazing to me that they can try to paint sheep dog Bernie as a Russian stooge given his adoption of the RussiaGate propaganda ploy. I suppose they must use all available weapons against anyone who threatens to lessen the pillaging of the public.
Jill Stein lost my respect immediately after election, when she appeared to be doing the dems work with the stupid recounts. I have not seen anyone rising, that I can really trust
I agree that was a cheap shot, although I think her purpose was to get some press attention, and maybe to uncover the actual vote manipulation, which the Dems were more guilty of in the states that did any recounting, not to mention them rigging the primaries.
Here is a complete statement that the Greens issued that covers this and other topics. It is worth a read.
Her VP choice last time around seemed like a good man, but I think we really need someone who already has big time name recognition to step to the plate for the Greens in 2020. If we could break the 15% threshold for the TV debates, the public would begin to see that there is a choice between corporate sponsored warmonger from column A, or corporate sponsored warmonger from column B.
“…to uncover the actual vote manipulation…”
I believe this was her true reason, and it took a lot of courage. It increased my already very high respect for her.
Jill Stein offered her top spot to Bernie Sanders, meaning he would run for the Green Party for president, she, veep. He didn’t even bother to respond. Yet, had he accepted that offer, he would be president with a vice-president who is even smarter than he.
Yes, Bernie should have gone into the Democratic Convention and discussed the leaked DNC emails and stated unequivocally that he either gets the democratic nomination or he goes over to the Green Party. His deal to support the winner of the democratic primaries should have been conditional on a fair process. He would have had the 15 pct for the TV debates, and he and Jill would have kicked ass. I am still seething over how he betrayed us.
Authoritarian populism is not a contradiction of terms. For example, it can be applied to the situation in Poland. with packing the courts, disabling the Constitution, brazen vilification of the opposition, misuse of government owned media etc. How the term can be legitimately applied to USA and UK, I have no idea, so it is indeed bait and switch.
After some brain wracking, an authoritarian element in USA may be seen in glorifying police powers, including killing people for “non-compliance”, but I do not recall calls for expanding those powers, rather than preserving them, and they grew under the watch of the current elite. We should analyze authoritarian liberalism as well.
In politics, populism refers to a range of approaches which emphasise the role of “the people” and often juxtapose this group against “the elite.”
favoring or enforcing strict obedience to authority, especially that of the government, at the expense of personal freedom.
synonyms: autocratic, dictatorial, despotic, tyrannical, draconian, oppressive, repressive, illiberal, undemocratic.
Considering our constitution starts with “We the people of the United States…” I stand by my assertion that “Authoritarian Populism” is a contradiction of terms, and “Authoritarian Plutocracy” is an accurate description of our government today.
Neoliberalism has gone as far as it can go. It was a faulty ideology from the beginning, and many already knew that it would lead to global serfdom and permanent war.
“To allow the market mechanism to be the sole director of the fate of human beings and their natural environment …would result in the demolition of society.” ~ Karl Polanyi, 1944
“In 1945 or 1950 if you had seriously proposed any of the ideas and policies in today’s standard neo-liberal toolkit, you would have been laughed off the stage or sent off to the insane asylum.” ~ Susan George
“The financial elite and oligarchs despise democracy since they know that neoliberalism is the antithesis of real democracy because it feeds on inequality; it feeds on privilege, it feeds on massive divisiveness, and it revels in producing a theater of cruelty. All you have to do is look at the way it enshrines a kind of rabid individualism. It believes that privatization is the essence of all relationships. It works very hard to eliminate any investment in public values, in public trust. It believes that democracy is something that doesn’t work, and we hear and see this increasingly from the bankers, anti-public intellectuals and other cheerleaders for neoliberal policies.” ~ Henry Giroux
Even the wealthiest among us think that the future lies in securing a seat in Musk’s rocket ship to Mars! The billionaires who aren’t that rich can only think of how to better insulate themselves in preparation for “the event” (“The Event,” meaning “environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down”), not admitting to themselves that the groundwater would be contaminated, offering zero chance of survival. All of this paranoia because the alternative, permitting feminine values (consideration of the whole) an equal seat at the economic table, would be far worse to face than an apocalyptic scenario. That reveals a serious lack of imagination.
Douglas Rushkoff: “Survival of the Richest”
Five wealthy investors asked Douglas how to survive environmental collapse. But what they really wanted to know was how to transcend the human world they look down upon.
If we had true education in the U.S. possibly more among the neoliberal-neocon-plutocratic class would better understand the ultimate folly of their ways.
“Perchance he for whom this bell tolls may be so ill, as that he knows not it tolls for him; and perchance I may think myself so much better than I am, as that they who are about me, and see my state, may have caused it to toll for me, and I know not that.
No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were; any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. ”
John Donne, Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, Meditation XVII: Nunc Lento Sonitu Dicunt, Morieris, 1624
Another proof of what I have been saying all along: You cannot reform Mafia.
If you are paying attention to Germany, you’ll see what’s happening there is a direct result of the failure of the established parties over two decades – CDU/CSU, SPD, FDP, and sadly, to some extent Greens (yes, the German Greens can almost be considered as establishment, that had supported sending German troops to Afghanistan as past of NATO commitment – you know the country that borders on “Atlantic”)
Over there, as opposed to the US, the profiles of the established parties are much more pronounced. And yet, they have been doing the bidding of the globalist 1%. In the US, unless a politician indicates which of the two Mafia organizations he/she belongs to, it is frequently impossible to know, solely based on his/her political policy stands. What the establishment has here is a much, much more rigid control of the society (for example, NSA and US corporate media would be wet dreams of Stasi and Dr. Goebbels, respectively). The question is how long that can last?
The apologists from the two think tankards are unwilling to see the truth. I forget who had said that it is difficult for a person to see the truth if his livelihood depends on not seeing it (or something to that effect)
I look forward to some CN coverage of the deep state coup attempt against President Trump represented by the fake book “Fear”, and the phony op ed in the NYT supposedly written by a Whitehouse insider.
I actually prefer the term ‘steady state’ because it has been running things since at least the beginning of the Reagan Era, with (former CIA chief) GHW Bush holding the reins, assisted by his usual band of suspects. Then we had the Bush/Clinton cabal, and
horrifying spectacle of Dick Cheney using Dubya as a puppet, under the umbrella of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC).
Obama, I’m sorry to say, signed on to ‘the Agenda’ and is now, judging from the clip I just heard of his speech today, in which he accused the current administration of ‘cozying — or maybe it was toadying — up to Russia’, among other things. He was in full oratory mode and clearly very much enjoying himself as someone who had missed being behind the podium.
Then the shock loss of HerSelf. (While by no means a Trump fan or even supporter, I couldn’t help feeling secretly gleeful). Oops, there goes the Agenda. Time for a behind the scenes coup ! The Steady State has admitted as much in the NYT op-ed of Wed.
Yes, I, too, laughed and laughed when Mrs Clinton lost!
Looking for a popular revolt as a solution to our escalating problems is like hoping for a major fire to solve real estate problems. A popular revolt is no more than one of many death spasms we can expect as the current “civilization” undergoes it’s inevitable collapse.
This is an amazing article in every respect. Thank you Gareth Porter for Reporting it. Could the AEI and the CAP really be so completely clueless as to actually need a joint assessment, or is it the reality that, like the Uni-Party itself, there is little or no light between these two Think Tanks? Actually, I suspect that neither organization has a clue as how to further advance their interests in this poisoned political environment that they are largely responsible for creating…
“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.
? Upton Sinclair
That must be it DJoe, but how disingenuous is that? Will there be a reckoning for lying on such a broad scale? Or possibly Propagandists are simply a category of Marketing Professionals…
There are ignorants, there are willfully ignorants and there are hypocrites. I can be persuaded to have some understanding for the first group but not for the latter two. The thinktanksrds belong to the hypocrites.
We live in a marketing world. Everything we eat, breath, experience and live is subject to marketing. If I am not mistaken, the Obama campaign team, after his first victory was awarded a marketing excellence award.
This is indeed a puzzle. With so much marketing power in evidence in 2008, where did all those geniuses go? Selection of Hillary Clinton in the aftermath of her e-mail scandal was already problematic, then the choice of the program and campaign rhetoric, and even failure to properly vilify Trump with his incredibly checkered business and personal history.
Perhaps this is good news, the plutocracy engaging in wishful thinking, having had it there way for decades they are like the deer in the headlights. As was pointed out they offer no solutions and can’t hide their intent to dominate the world through economic monopoly.
There are more and more articles about trading in other currencies and moving away from the dollar, we should encourage Trump to sanction more countries, companies and individuals. Every new sanction is a stab to the dollar. There is already a skeleton of an alternative financial system taking shape. Trump has put the peddle to the metal with his trade and sanctions policies the process of de-dolorization is proceeding apace. Germany has repatriated all its gold from the US, both China and Russia have amassed huge gold reserves.
There is a lot to the story, far too much for a comments forum, but essentially the US went into default in 1971, Vietnam having bankrupted the country, when Nixon unilaterally withdrew the US from the Britten Woods agreement and left the gold standard. Today’s dollar is worth about 2.5 cents in gold.
A new financial system was already being developed and the view among many that it would be 10 to 20 years before it was robust enough and the RNB was fully convertible. Trump has put a lot of coal in the burner though and we could see an alternate system much sooner.
As everyone knows, for the past 40 years China has been doing very well, lifting over 700 million out of poverty. Over these decades China has made forward commitments, each time they said something would be done in 5 years it has been accomplished in that time or less. Ten years ago China had no high speed trains, now they have over 12,000 Kl of high speed rail and the world’s leading technologies. On and on a long track record of success.
About a year and a half ago China announced that the RNB would become fully convertible in five years. Many scoffed at the announcement saying it can’t happen it will take 30 years or more. There is barley more than 3 years before the 5 year goal stated by China.
Nothing would end perpetual wars by the US faster than for the world to return to the gold standard (with perhaps Bitcoin playing a roll) – which seems more and more likely – then we’ll see how they pay for their trillion dollar military which can blow up the world many times over but can’t solve any of the problems the US has and can’t win wars.
The big players are going to make this happen, China, Germany, Russia even Japan and India, of course Iran will work together but they will make every effort not to create chaos during or after the transition. We will not wake up one day and the dollar is suddenly dethroned. It’s been going on for several years now and will continue – the days of dollar hegemony are well and truly numbered.
The future is not gold or bitcoin; it’s MMT. Learn the real operational reality of how economics works, not the Orwellian doublespeak of neoliberalism: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KGeYDmq-NU
I’m surprised the Atlantic Council doesn’t feature somewhere in this article. Its long since been realized by most people with even half a brain that voting the left, right or something in between changes nothing. Over here in the UK there was a large painted notice on a house in London which stated that: “if voting ever changed anything they would do away with it” I think this is all we need to know.
Think tanks do plenty of “thinking”, but what they “think” about is how to preserve narratives based on false premises. In other words, they are propaganda organizations funded to protect the power and privilege of their financial benefactors. Patriotism, the national interest, the general welfare, our children’s’ future, the environment and so forth may be touted as motivations only in so far as they help sell the narrative. The population is expendable, unless it serves a financial interest.
Propaganda’s “achilles heel” is everyday reality. The truth becomes the enemy of the state when it contradicts the official doctrine. It didn’t matter what Goebbels had to say once the bombs started falling on Berlin. And Americans can still watch old movies which reveal what they’ve lost. What American today wouldn’t enjoy driving a Cadillac convertible across a pristine North Carolina beach?
What real American doesn’t want The President to succeed? Populism may be our last chance to salvage any remnant of “democracy” we had left. It seems, though, that one way or another, mistakes are accumulating to snuff out this opportunity. There are seditious, frankly bordering on treasonous elements operating in our “deep state”. On the other hand, “bull in a china shop” policies are detracting from the legitimacy of an administration that could have regained popular control of government.
Releasing documents and declassification, in my opinion, could have saved what might have been a transformational movement. When the brakes were put on the JFK Records Act, I kinda realized it was all a pipe dream. The “powers that be” can hide the truth from the American public, but the millions of people being bombed overseas know they’re being bombed. Do Americans really believe that nobody but them ever wants to “get even”? The ultimate delegitimization could be a military disaster or economic collapse. The former could happen through stupidity, but the latter could occur through intentional design. Even in a depression, the wealthy never lose the financial advantage. Pletka and Singh sound pretty desperate. I wouldn’t put anything past the people they represent.
Ralph Nader wrote about the coming Left-Right populist coalition being the very nightmare that The Establishment dreads. It’s here and I’m the proof of it, being a Bernie/Steiner Green New Dealer, and enough of a pro-Trumper to support him as a fellow Outsider to the Establishment and a fatal thorn in their side. No to impeachment; yes to conversion of NAFTA to NABRI (North American Belt & Road Initiative) and YES to cooperative relations with Russia China India Japan and Korea( sans compass references) to form a new Bretton Woods Pact to end the Wall Street/City-of-London Axis of Evil.
Amen Brad! The thing that the Greens and the Libertarians have in common is their stand against the war machine and the Plutocracy it supports. Once we win that battle we can engage in an honest debate about the extent of the role of government in a free society “of, by, and for the people”.
Yes I believe that soon, the Gs and Ls will inherit field of parley from the disgraced Ds and Rs, who will follow the Whigs and Federalists to the dung heap of history. Then we can have sensible parley on how much belongs to the Public Sector and how how much belongs to the Private Sector, in sensible dirigistic fashion. Purist socialists and anarchistic “Privateers” need not apply for these debates.
I confess to bring another exhibit!
The CAP, the AEI and all the other major political “think” tanks pursue an exclusive neocon agenda of “American Plutocrats Uber Alles.” The ersatz “thinking” dressed up as position papers will never lead to a better situation for 99% of Americans. What does it benefit you, me or any of the other readers here if China’s BRI is brought to a screeching halt through American meddling? Or if NATO would have annexed Ukraine and occupied the 300-year old Russian naval base in Sevastopol? Why is Syria’s pittance of oil reserves best used to promote the interest of head-chopping terrorists recruited, trained and deployed by Washington? And, so it goes with a hundred other issues ensuring complete spectrum American government hegemony around the globe.
The already fat pampered oligarchs skim the cream, the American public gets to volunteer canon fodder for the global war that Washington is endlessly pursuing, and the last remaining independent countries across our planet get shredded by the Pentagon’s meat grinder, which is much more lavishly endowed with tax revenues than any of the remaining bare bones social programs. For cry-eye, middle class Americans can no longer afford i) their mortgages, ii) their medical bills, iii) the education of their children or iv) maintenance of the commons (infrastructure) because all the cream is skimmed off for the military, the global militarized intelligence agencies and the mega-corporations owned by the new breed of super-oligarchs like Jeff Bezos. If there ever was a corporation that defined the world “monopoly” it is Amazon, yet the latter day Rockefeller receives more perks from the government every day while he treats his employees like slaves, forcing them to piss into waste baskets on the shop floor for lack of breaks, and underpaying them to the point where they are substantially supported by YOU, the taxpayer on the public dole. How typically American now to work three jobs and still qualify for food stamps and section 8 housing assistance.
This is madness and everyone seems to accept it as the new normal. Certainly the two major political parties and their public apologists, the “think” tanks do. Both the Dems and the GOPers need to be dismantled when the day comes for breaking up the big banks and other corporate monoliths, probably after the inevitable big collapse. When that happens, just watch the Saudis, Kuwaitis, Israelis and some of our other favorites swoop in and pick the bones of America like we did to Russia after its collapse. Can’t happen soon enough to the gluttonous oligarchs that presently run this place like their personal country estate.
Gareth Porter – good report highlighting how both sides are working together. I found this interesting interview of Noam Chomsky wherein he talks about the same worry the Left and Right both had in the ’70’s.
Lewis Powell, before reluctantly becoming a Supreme Court Justice, in 1971 wrote a confidential memorandum for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce entitled “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System”. Ralph Nader speaks of this memo as the beginning of the neoliberalism movement. This was the Right’s view.
Chomsky says about the Left’s view:
“But no less interesting than the Powell Memorandum is another publication that came out from the opposite side of the mainstream political spectrum, the book called The Crisis of Democracy, published around the same time by the Trilateral Commission. That’s liberal internationalists from the three major capitalist centers—Europe, the United States and Japan.
The political complexion of this group is illustrated by the fact that they almost entirely staffed the Carter administration. That’s where they’re coming from. The American rapporteur Samuel Huntington, professor at Harvard, the well-known liberal intellectual. What’s the crisis of democracy? Pretty much the same as the Powell Memorandum.
They said there’s too much democracy. People who are usually passive and apathetic, the way they’re supposed to be, are pressing their demands in the public arena, and it’s too much for the state to accommodate. They didn’t mention one group: corporate interests. That’s the national interest. These are the special interests, and they called for more moderation and democracy.
Now, they were particularly concerned with what they called—this is their phrase—”the institutions responsible for the indoctrination of the young”—universities, schools, churches. They’re supposed to be indoctrinating the young, and they’re not doing their job, as you can see from all these kids running around calling for women’s rights and ending the war and so on and so forth. So we have to have better indoctrination of the young. They were also concerned about the media. They said the media are becoming too adversarial. If you look at what was happening, that’s about as much of a joke as Powell. They said, if the media don’t control themselves and discipline themselves, maybe the state will have to move in and do something about it. This was the liberals. This is the liberal end of the spectrum.”
Chomsky goes on:
“You take these two publications side by side. They differ rhetorically. The Powell Memorandum is literally a tantrum. The Crisis of Democracy is big words, moderate, you know, intellectuals and so on. But the message is not that very different. It’s saying we—that democracy is simply a threat. The population has to be restored to passivity, then everything will be fine. In fact, Huntington, the American rapporteur, says, kind of nostalgically, that Truman had been able to run the country with the cooperation of a few corporate executives and Wall Street lawyers. That was the good old days, when democracy was functioning. You didn’t have all these demands and so on. And remember, this is the liberal end of the spectrum. Then you get the Powell Memorandum, which is the harsher end and rhetorically, literally, kind of like a tantrum.”
Even back in the ’70’s both sides did not like when people demanded too much; we must remain passive. Chomsky goes on to describe why voters voted for Trump, out of despair.
1984. Truly the symbolic year that the Orwellian neoliberal war on Americans (and eventually the world) began. Why? To “lower our expectations” of the 60’s decade. Democracy is fine until it’s been activated. Then the hammer comes down, supposedly for fear of overthrow. But other countries enjoy a high quality of life, no threats of revolt, so why has this economic war unnecessarily continued for over four decades? It must just be greed, exploiting the public sector for profit.
PAYBACK FOR THE 1960’S
“More evidence that social control is behind market-driven health care comes from looking at its specific timing. Why did elite organizations like the CED begin advocating HMOs as the first step of their “market prescription,” in the early 1970’s? That was when America’s corporate and government leaders re-evaluated the way they would have to govern in light of the social upheavals of the 1960’s.
Market-driven health care is part of a pattern of government and corporate policy initiatives over the last several decades which have one thing in common: they strengthen corporate power over people by lowering people’s expectations in life, and by reducing their economic, social, and emotional security.
These policies include corporate downsizing and the “temping” of jobs; the elimination of the “family wage,” so that now both parents have to work full-time and have less time with their children; drastic cuts in the social safety net of welfare and related assistance; the introduction of pension plans based on individualized investments that leave each older person to his or her own fate; and the use of high stakes tests in public elementary and secondary schools to subject children to the same stress and insecurity that their parents face on the job.
In the workplace, employers have adopted anti-worker tactics that had not been used since the early 1930s, most notably firing striking workers and hiring permanent replacements, as President Reagan did during the air traffic controllers’ strike. All these policies put people on the defensive and pressure them to worry more about personal survival than working together for social change.”
This duo of think tanks has been releasing reports on Europe as well, and have extended their negative evaluation of Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein to anti-consensus left wing politicians there as well, such as UK Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn and France’s Left Party’s Jean-Luc Mèlenchon. They additionally attack right wing “populists” like Hungary’s Viktor Orban and Marine Le Pen of the National Rally. It shows how elitists all over the world will do anything to maintain the power of Davos Man (and Woman).
So the take away is that “Pletka and Singh” are perhaps the best the elites have to offer in terms of their work in reconsidering our ongoing military & economic madness and in reconfiguring the political landscape – but – sadly – they appear to be complete idiots. Which of course means those they provide a more rational thoughtful alternative to must be even more out of touch with global realities.
The narcissists, sociopaths and psychopaths who comprise our “ruling class” have a number of identifiable qualities in common, however, concern for their fellow human beings and for the habitability of the planet aren’t among those qualities. Rational humane change emanating willingly from within the elite power structure is about as likely as is discovering that, surprise, surprise, Elvis is indeed “alive” and well! It simply isn’t going happen that way folks. It never has. What elites are certain to be considering is simply “how” to keep a lid on popular discontent for as long as possible before retreating to their bunkers. The current hysterical tabloid nature of MSM suggest they are in fact quite worried.
So the gist seems to be that Singh and Pletka are upset with people who state facts, and that stating facts instead of lies is “apologism”.
Someone also might like to inform Pletka that it was Bush who set the withdrawal of Iraq troops; and that Obama tried to instead extend it but was stymied when Iraq demanded the right to try US soldiers accused of crimes in Iraqi courts. So no new Status of Forces Agreement.
For a moment there I thought of how Singh and Pletka by jove I think they finally got it sprung to mind, but then I continued to read on with Mr Porter’s fine article… and my well waited joy went to disappointed emptiness, dog gone it. Even when these elitist do get it right they eventually screw it up.
This piece by author James O’Neill gives weight to why American Think Tanks are changing their tune… well almost that is.
America’s military might may be falling under its own weight. By the troves countries are opting out of the U.S. Dollar as a reserve currency. The world knows the truth over American & Western propaganda. When Europe goes so goes the Western alliances of yesteryear. We are traveling down new avenues.
No, no no. Not screwing it up. They’re applying their own effort and intellectual energy to the task of protecting their own power and status. They don’t represent (and are not working for) anyone but themselves. It’s like in Luchino Visconti’s 1963 film about the Italian Risorgimento titled (in English) “The Leopard” (starring Burt Lancaster) where the Prince embraces Garibaldi’s uprising because he’s smart enough to understand that “Things must change if we want them to remain the same.”
So, if the think-tanks are not screwing it up, who is?
Well, I think your Junior Senator from Nebraska NAILED it this week at the Kavanaugh hearings. Go listen:
A “democracy” will only function “for the people” if the people, as individual citizens, put their own effort and intellectual energy into to making sure that it does. Casting a pre-fab ballot at regular intervals is just not enough. Whenever and wherever valuable resources are gathered into a central holding (think of a grain elevator, for example), this is going to attract vermin. In a kitchen pantry, any flour bin is lined with metal to keep out the mice and beetles. Any backyard compost bin needs to be properly installed with some layers of hardware mesh. When you go camping, you hang your food high in the trees because you know that bears live in the woods. All sorts of assets need to be protected, and there are ways of protecting them. When it comes to protecting the collective assets of a people, a nation, you can’t just set something up to run automatically and assume it’ll take care of itself from then on, when you know full well there are all sorts of “tigers and flies” out there hungry for a piece of it. No, you need to monitor the thing, check it frequently to make sure everything’s holding up over time, functioning properly.
Bottom line: maybe America hasn’t QUITE figured out this democracy thing, after all. Perhaps 250 years is just too short a time-span for all the bugs to have been worked out of a system — for the system to have, shall we say, matured.
Maybe, just maybe, Uncle Sam could benefit by climbing down from the high horse he’s been riding, and call off his self-appointed task of bombing back to the Stone Age all the ancient civilizations of the world. (One or more of those ancient civilizations might very well hold the key to how a people (or a nation) survives long enough to become more than just a brief flash, a blip, on the timeline of History.
First step (in my opinion, of course) is for people of the “United States of America” to finish fighting their own civil war – without gunpowder this time, please – to decide whether they want to function as a unitary state or a confederation of states. Whether y’all want to be a democracy or a republic, or something else. These are still contentious issues that you have not yet settled amongst yourselves. In other words, there is serious, good work to be done on Project America. If y’all could quit squabbling and screaming (and biting and kicking) like a room full of spoiled toddlers, and finish building your national structure and identity like intelligent adults, the whole world would be grateful, believe me. (But, caveat: time’s a-wasting. If y’all cannot get it together, and fast, the rest of the world is going to close you down. Full stop.)
Nice comments Laninya & you nailed it with the Leopard movie comparison, these elites & their irk will do anything to save their skins or change the colour of their skins like a Charmelion, before it’s too late because they are realise that this extreme equality & unfair treatment has reached its limit with ordinary people & they are doing everything to avoid a French Revolution moment where the masses reach a critical crisis point & take action to remove power from this lot, forcefully if necessary! And Uncle Sam is never going to change it’s just wishful thinking to believe this & these think tanks have been setup to give the appearance of empathy & that they are listening to the people but the reality is they couldn’t give a damn about ordinary people only their own selfish, greedy interests! You can’t reform the American Plutocracy & it’s elites, it’s irredeemable & beyond repair! The only way is to “burn this system to the ground”, obviously not in a literal sense, & get rid of it this system & it’s Leaders & cronies who enable this, like a forest fire clearing out the deadwood! This whole elitist, Neoliberal system needs to go & be replaced with a economic & political system that works for humans! Until they can figure out a way to stop treating people as economic units to be exploited for monetary gain & have everyone benefiting from a fairer more equitable system then no amount of think tanks & waffle by intellectuals & especially lying BS Politicians hold any salt with folks worn out by Corporate & MIC crooks & corrupt Politicians & their Plurocratic Govts!
Here is an interesting look at one of the great fears that has been created by the growing political polarization in the United States:
Unfortunately, the growing divide in America is resulting in a nation that is heading toward a very unpredictable future.
Our ruling class knows they’re bereft of ideas, they know corporate capitalism and neo-liberal politico-economic baloney has failed 80% of the U.S. population.
The gated communities can’t be thrown up fast enough. These cowards and their sycophantic spin-meisters fear a day of reckoning could be at hand.
Meanwhile (and I’ve posted this rant before on CN), 85% of the population is stalked by the specter of economic insecurity. This sadistic serial killer known as economic insecurity is terrorizing cities, towns and bucolic locales across the country. Folks fear a car repair, dental nightmare, student loan debt, rent payment or a layoff b/c they know it means destitution, broken homes, and a reaching for the diversionary opiates of the masses.
Bring on at least a serious reformation, pronto!
Everything, EVERYTHING the dissident and critical intellectuals (the real critical intellectuals, not the faux Jordan Peterson types who rail against “cultural Marxism” whatever the heck that is), writers, scholars and activists have been saying for the last 40 years has been prescient and spot-on, absolutely spot-on. Treasures such as Sheldon Wolin, Chris Hedges, Michael Parenti, James Petras, Noam Chomsky, Gore Vidal (RIP), Alexander Cockburn, (RIP), Adolph Reed, Stephen Lendman, Glen Ford, Paul Craig Roberts (except when he rants about “crisis actors”), Cornel West, and a few I’m forgetting at the moment, have all, ALL been vindicated. Contemporary history has absolved them all!
“……..political elites, have responded to the populist shocks of the 2016 presidential election by trying to reposition themselves and the Democratic and Republican Parties as more sympathetic to populist concerns even while maintaining their attachments to the interests of big business and the complex of war-making…..”
The denizens of the Uni-Party are busy cooking up their desperate ideas of acceptable lies. We’ll see soon enough whether or not 2016 spawned the beginning of a new sense of memory in the People, fueled by years of Globalist betrayal and the feeling of a Nation nearly brought to its knees.
If we are waiting for the people to somehow experience an intelligent awakening, we wait in vain. Much more likely is an inchoate response of reaction and ill targeted violence. The needed preparation for a healthy awakening is just not there.
Fourteen billion years of evolution stand proven as a waste of time?