17 January 2016

Want to know what Sanders and Trump have in common? READ THIS

Two days after his smashing essay in the New York Times, my friend Mike Lofgren has struck again with an even more smashing op-ed in the Guardian (attached herewith).  Bear in mind, these essays are only the tip of the iceberg revealed in his most recent book “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government.”   If you want to get off the self-destructive evolutionary pathway the United States now finds itself on, Mike's must-read book explains how the destructive shadow government evolved by the political-economic DNA of mutually reinforcing pathologies in (1) the Miltary - Industrial - Congressional Complex, (2) the banking and business oligarchy, and (3) the Silicon Valley “entrepreneurs” who are fueling the domestic spying operations of the national security state are now working collectively, if sometimes insensibly, to destroy the “more perfect union" defined by “we the people” -- see the Preamble to our Constitution.  
A necessary but not sufficient condition for evolving a salutary pathway into the future is to get private money out of the people’s politics — no small order in a nation where the law is based on legal precedent and  where its supreme (and unelected) legal institution has set precedents that equate corporations to people and money to free speech.
Chuck Spinney

An oligarchy has broken our democracy. It must be dislodged
Pro forma elections have camouflaged the true state of our political system. Will that change this year?
Mike Lofgren, The Guardian, 17 January 2016
Each new election year promises change. We will choose a new president and new representatives in Congress; fresh faces will make their appearances in Washington DC, while old ones disappear. But what about the people who stay in power, one election after another, less exposed to the public eye?
The concept of a ‘Deep State’ has been around for a while, but rarely to describe the United States. The term, used in Kemalist Turkey by the political class, referred to an informal grouping of oligarchs, senior military and intelligence operatives and organized crime, who ran the state along anti-democratic lines regardless of who was formally in power.
I define the American Deep State as a hybrid association of elements of government and top-level finance and industry that is able, through campaign financing of elected officials, influence networks and co-option via the promise of lucrative post-government careers, to govern the United States in spite of elections and without reference to the consent of the governed. ... continued.

05 January 2016

Inside the US Deep State: An Interview with Mike Lofgren

Attached herewith is an interview with my good friend Mike Lofgren.  The subject is Lofgren’s important and timely new book entitled The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government, which hits the stands today. Mike’s new book builds on his excellent essay, Anatomy of the Deep State, originally posted on Bill Moyers’ website.

Lofgren diagnoses the sorry state of governance in the US democratic system.  This may well be the most serious problem facing our nation since the 1850s during the lead up to the Civil War.  It is, therefore, a problem every serious citizen should make a concentrated effort to understand and act on — our future depends on an informed citizenry rising up to demand change.  That is a tall order, given the sorry state the information produced by the 4th Estate.
Chuck Spinney
[... excerpt ...]
Controlled by shadow government: Mike Lofgren reveals how top U.S. officials are at the mercy of the “deep state” 
A corrupt network of wealthy elites has hijacked our government, ex-GOP staffer and best-selling author tells Salon 
ELIAS ISQUITH, Salon, TUESDAY, JAN 5, 2016 09:40 AM EST 

One of the predominant themes of the 2016 presidential campaign thus far — and one that is unlikely to lose significance once the primaries give way to the general election — is the American people’s exasperation with a political system they see as corrupt, self-serving, disingenuous and out of touch. 
It is not an especially partisan or ideological sentiment; you can just as easily find it among supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders as among fans of Donald Trump. You can even find those who support paragons of the status quo, like Hillary Clinton or Jeb Bush, making similar complaints. It’s about as close to a consensus position as you’re likely to find nowadays in American politics. 
Yet despite the widespread agreement that something is seriously wrong with democracy in the U.S., there’s much less of a consensus as to what that something is — and, crucially, how to fix it. The answers Bernie Sanders offers, for example, are not exactly the same as those proffered by Donald Trump. Is the problem too much government? Not enough government? Too much immigration? Not enough immigration? Too much taxing and regulating? Not enough taxing and regulating? 
Our lack of a systemic analysis of the problem is part of the reason why our answers are so diffuse and ill-fitting. And that’s just one of the reasons why “The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government,” the new book from ex-longtime GOP staffer turned best-selling author Mike Lofgren, is so valuable. Lofgren puts a name and a shape to a problem that has often been only nebulously defined; and while his conclusions are not exactly uplifting, the logic and sophistication of his argument is hard to resist. 
Recently, Salon spoke over the phone with Lofgren about his book, the deep state and his read on the current sorry state of American government and politics. Our conversation, which also touched on President Obama’s relationship with the deep state, was edited for clarity and length. ... continued