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Essay: Anatomy of the Deep State
February 21, 2014
by Mike Lofgren Like 18k 929
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Rome lived upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. Industry is the only true source of wealth, and there was no industry in Rome. By day the Ostia road was crowded with carts and muleteers, carrying to the great city the silks and spices of the East, the marble of Asia Minor, the timber of the Atlas, the grain of Africa and Egypt; and the carts brought out nothing but loads of dung. That was their return cargo. – The Martyrdom of Man by Winwood Reade (1871)
There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.  During the last five years, the news media has been flooded with pundits decrying the broken politics of Washington. The conventional wisdom has it that partisan gridlock and dysfunction have become the new normal. That is
certainly the case, and I have been among the harshest critics of this development. But it is also imperative to acknowledge the limits of this critique as it applies to the American governmental system. On one level, the critique is self-evident: In the domain that the public can see, Congress is hopelessly deadlocked in the worst manner since the 1850s, the violently rancorous decade preceding the Civil War. As I wrote in The Party is Over, the present Yes, there is another objective of congressional Republicans is to government concealed render the executive branch powerless, at least behind the one that is until a Republican president is elected (a goal visible at either end of that voter suppression laws in GOP-controlled Pennsylvania Avenue, a states are clearly intended to accomplish). hybrid entity of public and President Obama cannot enact his domestic private institutions ruling policies and budgets: Because of incessant GOP the country… filibustering, not only could he not fill the large number of vacancies in the federal judiciary, he could not even get his most innocuous presidential appointees into office. Democrats controlling the Senate have responded by weakening the filibuster of nominations, but Republicans are sure to react with other parliamentary delaying tactics. This strategy amounts to congressional nullification of executive branch powers by a party that controls a majority in only one house of Congress. Despite this apparent impotence, President Obama can liquidate American citizens without due processes, detain prisoners indefinitely without charge, conduct dragnet surveillance on the American people without judicial warrant and engage in unprecedented — at least since the McCarthy era — witch hunts against federal employees (the so-called “Insider Threat Program”). Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement. Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress, such as arranging the forced landing of a plane carrying a sovereign head of state over foreign territory. Despite the habitual cant of congressional Republicans about executive overreach by Obama, the would-be dictator, we have until recently heard very little from them about these actions — with the minor exception of comments from gadfly Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky. Democrats, save a few mavericks such as Ron Wyden of Oregon, are not unduly troubled, either — even to the extent of permitting seemingly perjured congressional testimony under oath by executive branch officials on the subject of illegal surveillance. These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise. During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to
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7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. to quote George W. and questioning it is not a careerenhancing move. “the deciders. and why am I equipped to write it? As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance. all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive.” All complex societies have an establishment. That said.” Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. the Deep State. the government spent $1.  How did I come to write an analysis of the Deep State. is in a class by itself. As in the military. after a while. such as those in Iraq. are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude. but only intermittently controlled by. I became. did I begin fundamentally to question the reasons of state that motivate the people who are. In terms of its scope. one killing 13 people. connected to. be it negotiating biennial budgeting. the visible state whose leaders we choose. making grand bargains or invading countries. if neither totally in it by virtue of full membership nor of it by psychological disposition. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret. it is neither omniscient nor invincible. and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Janis called “groupthink. conspiratorial cabal. financial resources and sheer global reach.” the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out. the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads. Afghanistan and Libya. Yes. assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for. two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure. The universe of people who will Reactions: Andrew Bacevich on Washington’s Tacit Consensus Photo: Dale Robbins . Far from being invincible. the American hybrid state. everybody has to get on board with the mission. and only by slow degrees. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information. its failures. the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. to some extent. there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue. Since 2007. They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life. I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing. like virtually every employed person. Then.commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country’s intelligence. Bush. starting before the invasion of Iraq. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. During that same period of time. But.
Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State. The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. soon to be coronated as the presidential nominee at the Democratic National . After a while. a functionary of the state begins to hear things that. As Upton Sinclair said. or at least noteworthy. would be quite remarkable. The bill passed easily: All that was required was the invocation of the word “terrorism” and most members of Congress responded like iron filings obeying a magnet. Government life is typically not some vignette from an Allen Drury novel about intrigue under the Capitol dome. I didn’t know all that I knew. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts.000th time. Sitting and staring at the clock on the off-white office wall when it’s 11:00 in the evening and you are vowing never. The final government component (and possibly last in precedence among the formal branches of government established by the Constitution) is a kind of rump Congress consisting of the congressional leadership and some (but not all) of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. and yet that simply bounce off one’s consciousness like pebbles off steel plate: “You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers. the Department of State. ever to eat another piece of takeout pizza in your life is not an experience that summons the higher literary instincts of a would-be memoirist. quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistleblowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony. its enforcement of international sanctions and its organic symbiosis with Wall Street. such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. One who responded in that fashion was Senator Barack Obama. the Department of Homeland Security.” A more elusive aspect of cultural assimilation is the sheer dead weight of the ordinariness of it all once you have planted yourself in your office chair for the 10. growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy. at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it. normally so fractious and partisan. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense. the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department. All these agencies are coordinated by the Executive Office of the President via the National Security Council. The rest of Congress. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld.critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. I saw this submissiveness on many occasions. is mostly only intermittently aware of the Deep State and when required usually submits to a few well-chosen words from the State’s emissaries. where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted. in another context. I also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows. One memorable incident was passage of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Amendments Act of 2008. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it. such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan. This legislation retroactively legalized the Bush administration’s illegal and unconstitutional surveillance first revealed by The New York Times in 2005 and indemnified the telecommunications companies for their cooperation in these acts.
Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo. What is euphemistically called “private enterprise” is an integral part of its operations. the Deep State does not consist only of government agencies. James R.  . is the current vice chairman of the same company. 2013. and are rarely subject to congressional hearings. on the excesses of the global war on terror and the erosion of constitutional liberties. perhaps even the world economy. Combined. their heavy concentration in and around the Washington suburbs is unmistakable: Since 9/11. Corruption Photo: Dale Robbins The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register.Convention in Denver. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies. Admiral Mike McConnell. it will have a negative impact on the national economy. One is Wall Street.” This. In a special series in The Washington Post called “Top Secret America. if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. Clapper. These contractors now set the political and social tone of Washington. is a former executive of Booz Allen Hamilton. but they are doing it quietly. Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America.” Dana Priest and William K. but it is not the only one. There are now 854. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. He had already won the most delegates by campaigning to the left of his main opponent. Booz Allen is 99 percent dependent on government business. Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute. And the membrane between government and industry is highly permeable: The Director of National Intelligence. from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. Hillary Clinton. His predecessor as director. While they work throughout the country and the world. one of the government’s largest intelligence contractors. they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons — about 17 million square feet.000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances — a number greater than that of top-secret-cleared civilian employees of the government. As the indemnification vote showed. Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which it has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to Reactions: Danielle Brian on Legalized help the hired hands remember their own best interests. just as they are increasingly setting the direction of the country. On March 6. testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. if you do bring a criminal charge. Seventy percent of the intelligence community’s budget goes to paying contracts. which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. 33 facilities for top-secret intelligence have been built or are under construction.
Henry Paulson. outsourcing. the economic gurus who perpetually demonstrate that globalization and deregulation are a blessing that makes us all better off in the long run — are careful to pretend that they have no ideology.The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin. Internationally. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. but its business is so important to the government that a strange relationship Reactions: Heidi has emerged.  Petraeus and most of the avatars of the Deep State — the White House advisers who urged Obama not to impose compensation limits on Wall Street CEOs. these days it is simply “not done. While the government could simply Boghosian on Mass dragoon the high technology companies to do the NSA’s Surveillance Photo: Dale Robbins bidding. it would prefer cooperation with so important an engine of the nation’s economy. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. a private equity firm with $62. of course. That is nonsense. General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street. they espouse 21st-century “American Exceptionalism”: the right and duty of the United States to meddle in every region of the world with coercive diplomacy and boots on the ground and to ignore painfully won international norms of civilized behavior. Silicon Valley overwhelmingly sells to the private market. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. Lawrence Summers. now that the ideology of the Deep State has prospered. Domestically. none dare call it ideology. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013. His ability to peddle influence. perhaps with an implied quid pro quo. the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. however. Unlike military and intelligence contractors. Their preferred pose is that of the politically neutral technocrat offering well considered advice based on profound expertise. whatever they might privately believe about essentially diversionary social issues such as abortion or gay marriage. New York. they almost invariably believe in the “Washington Consensus”: financialization. If an American . They are deeply dyed in the hue of the official ideology of the governing class. Perhaps this explains the extraordinary indulgence the government shows the Valley in intellectual property matters. an ideology that is neither specifically Democrat nor Republican. the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy. it has become publicly evident that Silicon Valley is a vital node of the Deep State as well. Timothy Geithner and many others. is a known and valued commodity. deregulation and the commodifying of labor. The Ivy League is.3 billion in assets.  That is why describing torture with the word “torture” on broadcast television is treated less as political heresy than as an inexcusable lapse of Washington etiquette: Like smoking a cigarette on camera. To paraphrase what Sir John Harrington said more than 400 years ago about treason.” After Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent and depth of surveillance by the National Security Agency. Unlike Cincinnatus. privatization. the contractor-connected think tank experts who besought us to “stay the course” in Iraq.
visible parliamentary institutions of selfgovernment declining to the status of a banana republic amid the gradual collapse of public infrastructure. the richest metropolitan area in the nation. despite the essential roles of lower Manhattan and Silicon Valley. decaying. a plurality of respondents said they believed China already had or would in the future replace the United States as the world’s top economic power. often for many days.. The libertarian pose of the Silicon Valley moguls. the center of gravity of the Deep State is firmly situated in and around the Beltway. It is as if Hadrian’s Wall was still fully manned and the fortifications along the border with Germania were never stronger. bankrupt cities of the American Midwest will attest.“jailbreaks” his smartphone (i.000 and several years in prison.  The Washington metropolitan area considers it a Herculean task just to build a rail link to its international airport — with luck it may be completed by 2018. as a tour of the rotting. the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. secret prisons and Panopticon-like control on the one hand. Still. poorly constructed and inadequately maintained. has always been a sham. the ordinary. so much for a citizen’s vaunted property rights to what he purchases. A 2013 Pew Poll that interviewed 38. It is not even confined to those parts of the country left behind by a Washington Consensus that decreed the financialization and deindustrialization of the economy in the interests of efficiency and shareholder value. The Deep State’s physical expansion and consolidation around the Beltway would seem to make a mockery of the frequent pronouncement that governance in Washington is dysfunctional and broken. tens — or even hundreds — of thousands of residents lose power.e. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism. he could receive a fine of up to $500. and on the other. even as the city of Rome disintegrates from within and the life-sustaining aqueducts leading down from the hills begin to crumble. That the secret and unaccountable Deep State floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American government in the 21st century: drone strikes. There are occasional water restrictions over wide areas because water mains. have burst. data mining. modifies it so that it can use a service provider other than the one dictated by the manufacturer). Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State. Silicon Valley has long been tracking for commercial purposes the activities of every person who uses an electronic device. and its time in . The results of this contradiction are not abstract.” that is not always evident to those who live there. The Deep State is the big story of our time. so it is hardly surprising that the Deep State should emulate the Valley and do the same for its own purposes.000 people around the world found that in 23 of 39 countries surveyed. but others do not. This paradox is evident even within the Beltway itself. so carefully cultivated in their public relations. The governing classes of the Deep State may continue to deceive themselves with their dreams of Zeus-like omnipotence. Although demographers and urban researchers invariably count Washington as a “world city. Nor is it surprising that it should conscript the Valley’s assistance. the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy. Virtually every time there is a severe summer thunderstorm.
its essentially parasitic. Will the Deep State ride on the back of the American people from failure to failure until the country itself. are growing tired of endless quagmires in the Middle East. Second. firepower.the sun as a rival to Rome. The unfolding revelations of the scope of the NSA’s warrantless surveillance have become so egregious that even institutional apologists such as Senator Dianne Feinstein have begun to backpedal — if only rhetorically — from their knee-jerk defense of the agency. But there is another more structural reason the Deep State may have peaked in the extent of its dominance. the smoking rubble of the Benghazi consulate. there are signs of resistance to the Deep State and its demands. Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit. that just as in so many previous empires. But.” “Living upon its principal. the House narrowly failed to pass an amendment that would have defunded the NSA’s warrantless collection of data from US persons. While it seems to float above the constitutional state.” in this case. it is possible that the Deep State’s decade-old tactic of crying “terrorism!” every time it faces resistance is no longer eliciting the same Pavlovian response of meek obedience. advocating yet another military intervention in the Middle East. the Deep State is populated with those whose instinctive reaction to the failure of their policies is to double down on those very policies in the future. Shortly thereafter. In the aftermath of the Snowden revelations. that the Deep State is so heavily entrenched. And the American people. met with such overwhelming congressional skepticism that he changed the subject by grasping at a diplomatic lifeline thrown to him by Vladimir Putin. As more people begin to waken from the fearful and suggestible state that 9/11 created in their minds. . constitutional state. rather than discouraging further misadventure. this legerdemain allowed for the surge in Afghanistan. to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face. money and its ability to co-opt resistance that it is almost impervious to change. finally begun to reassert itself against the claims and usurpations of the Deep State? To some extent. First. the one envisaged by Madison and the other Founders. seemed merely to incite the itch to bomb Syria. which equally came to naught. the president. as Winwood Reade said of Rome. the functionaries of the Deep State plunged into Libya. extractive nature means that it is still tethered to the formal proceedings of governance. Undeterred by that failure. means that the Deep State has been extracting value from the American people in vampire-like fashion. this time in Syria. We are faced with two disagreeable implications. The Deep State thrives when there is tolerable functionality in the day-to-day operations of the federal government. Iraq was a failure briefly camouflaged by the wholly propagandistic success of the so-called surge. is slowly exhausted? The dusty road of empire is strewn with the bones of former great powers that exhausted themselves in like manner. despite its huge reserves of human and material capital. perhaps. so well protected by surveillance.  Reactions: Henry Giroux on Resisting the Neoliberal Revolution Photo: Dale Robbins Has the visible. possibly even their legislators.
it is Silicon Valley difficult to take the tech firms’ libertarian protestations about government compromise of their systems at face value. Even Wall Street’s rentier operations have been affected: After helping finance the tea party to advance its own plutocratic ambitions. But when one house of Congress is taken over by tea party Wahhabites.. as long as too many awkward questions are not asked. how much is legal compulsion through FISA warrants and how much is a matter of the NSA surreptitiously breaking into technology companies’ systems. The final factor is Silicon Valley. the latter are now telling the politicians they thought they had hired to knock it off. Limited deals may soften sequestration. And Democrats wanting to spend more on domestic discretionary programs cannot void sequestration on either domestic or defense programs without Republicans insisting on entitlement cuts. So. special tax subsidies for certain corporations are approved without controversy. the government shutdown and the threat of default over the debt ceiling extension have been disrupting that equilibrium. it is hard to know how much of the NSA’s relationship with the Valley is based on voluntary cooperation. they cannot fully reverse sequestration without the Democrats demanding revenue increases. life for the ruling class becomes more trying. the gears of the hybrid state will mesh noiselessly. As much as many Republicans might want to give budget relief to the organs of national security. albeit for different reasons. America’s Big Money is now regretting the Frankenstein’s monster it has created.As long as appropriations bills get passed on time. Civil liberties Democrats alone would never have come so close to victory. Like children playing with dynamite. the tea party and its compulsion to drive the nation into credit default has alarmed the grown-ups commanding the heights of capital. If there is anything the Deep State requires it is silent. And an extreme gridlock dynamic has developed between the two parties such that continuing some level of sequestration is politically the least bad option for both parties. tea party stalwart Justin Amash (R-MI). black (i. the Deep State must restrain its appetite for taxpayer dollars.e. The House vote to defund the NSA’s illegal surveillance programs was equally illustrative of the disruptive nature of the tea party insurgency. especially since they engage in similar activity against their own . but agency requests will not likely be fully funded anytime soon. who has also upset the business community for his debtlimit fundamentalism. Given the Valley’s public relations requirement Reactions: Tim Wu on to mollify its customers who have privacy concerns. was the lead Republican sponsor of the NSA amendment. uninterrupted cash flow and the confidence that things will go on as they have in the past. promotion lists get confirmed. secret) budgets get rubber-stamped. But recent congressional antics involving sequestration. for the foreseeable future. and most of the Republicans who voted with him were aligned with the tea party. Owing to secrecy and obfuscation. It is even willing to tolerate a degree of gridlock: Partisan mud wrestling over cultural issues may be a useful distraction from its agenda.
The Deep State. We have only to reflect upon defunct glacial despotisms such as the USSR or East Germany to realize that nothing is forever. the cash nexus is ultimately more compelling than the Deep State’s demand for patriotic cooperation.customers for commercial purposes. eddied. It may be that deep economic and social currents create the framework of history. As the French ancien régime. the strategy works splendidly for a while. based on the twin pillars of national security imperative and corporate hegemony. High tech corporations and governments alike seek dominance over people though collection of personal data. for all the Ayn Rand-like tendencies of its major players. Marxism and the Washington Consensus. chance and human agency. tech firms have deep pockets and batteries of lawyers with which to fight government diktat. Corporate oligarchs such as the Koch brothers are no longer entirely happy with the fauxpopulist political front group they helped fund and groom. That said. or even reversed by circumstance. particularly if one has a talent for Reactions: Juan Cole on the Vulnerability of the Network . its offshoring strategies and its further exacerbation of income inequality. For high tech entrepreneurs. successively decreed that the dictatorship of the proletariat and the dictatorship of the market were inevitable. But history has a way of toppling the altars of the mighty. When the contradictions within a ruling ideology are pushed too far. The first strategy. the Romanov dynasty and the Habsburg emperors discovered. Silicon Valley. factionalism appears and that ideology begins slowly to crumble. including withdrawing the agency’s custody of a domestic telephone record database. state systems with outsized pretensions to power have reacted to their environments in two ways. Throughout history. evidence is accumulating that Silicon Valley is losing billions in overseas business from companies. but they are still significant in that the clamor has gotten so loud that the president feels the political need to address it. but those currents can be channeled. expanding requirements for judicial warrants and ceasing to spy on (undefined) “friendly foreign leaders. that the status quo reflects the nation’s unique good fortune in being favored by God and that those calling for change are merely subversive troublemakers. The outcome of all these developments is uncertain. has until recently seemed unshakable and the latest events may only be a temporary perturbation in its trajectory. a core component of the Deep State. consists of repeating that nothing is wrong. but the corporations are jumping ship now that adverse public reaction to the NSA scandals threatens their profits. This pushback has gone so far that on January 17. the future is actually indeterminate. is now lobbying Congress to restrain the NSA. individuals and governments that want to maintain privacy. President Obama announced revisions to the NSA’s data collection programs. reflecting the ossification of its ruling elites.” Critics have denounced the changes as a cosmetic public relations move. While the two great materialist and determinist ideologies of the twentieth century. Even legal compulsion can be combatted: Unlike the individual citizen. Some tech firms are moving to encrypt their data.
the declinists.dismissing unpleasant facts. military. As the United States confronts its future after experiencing two failed wars. offers a profusion of nostrums to turn the nation around: public financing of elections to sever the artery of money between the corporate components of the Deep State and financially dependent elected officials. The second. In their drive to reform and modernize the political systems they inherited.” I use the term to mean a hybrid association of elements of government and parts of top-level finance and industry that is effectively able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. are likely to be thoroughly disappointing. What America lacks is a figure with the serene self-confidence to tell us that the twin idols of national security and corporate power are outworn dogmas that have nothing more to offer us. The Snowden revelations (the impact of which have been surprisingly strong). their natures were conservative. by figures of such contrasting personalities as Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. They were certainly not revolutionaries by temperament. security. show that there is now a deep but as yet inchoate hunger for change. the derailed drive for military intervention in Syria and a fractious Congress. The first. however. But they understood that the political cultures in which they lived were fossilized and incapable of adapting to the times. Mike Lofgren on the Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight All of that is necessary. judiciary and organized crime. dysfunctional political system incapable of reform and an economy soon to be overtaken by China. . the national punditry has split into two camps. whose dysfunction has begun to be a serious inconvenience to the Deep State. if anything. a precarious economy and $17 trillion in accumulated debt. industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster. government “insourcing” to reverse the tide of outsourcing of government functions and the conflicts of interest that it creates. The final results. Franklin D. the reformers. Charles de Gaulle and Deng Xiaoping. The second strategy is one embraced to varying degrees and with differing goals. Thus disenthralled.  The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey and is said to be a system composed of high-level elements within the intelligence services. their first obstacles to overcome were the outworn myths that encrusted the thinking of the elites of their time. In British author John le Carré’s latest novel. a character describes the Deep State as “… the everexpanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking. but not sufficient. sees a broken. a tax policy that values human labor over financial manipulation and a trade policy that favors exporting manufactured goods over exporting investment capital. the people themselves will unravel the Deep State with surprising speed. A Delicate Truth. Roosevelt.
 Obama’s abrupt about-face suggests he may have been skeptical of military intervention in Syria all along. Spencer Bachus (R-AL). Democrats Became Useless. but only dropped that policy once Congress and Putin gave him the running room to do so. Former Secretary of Defense Robert M. The Party is Over: How Republicans Went Crazy. appeared in paperback on August 27. the view is that the banks are to be regulated. Presidents. every losing presidential candidate has been a Harvard or Yale graduate. and the Middle Class Got Shafted. the American public has seen a vivid example of a Deep State operative marketing his ideology under the banner of pragmatism. Grenada. Beginning in 2000. the sociologist Robert Nisbet described this phenomenon as “the attribute of No Fault…. secretaries and generals and admirals in America seemingly subscribe to the doctrine that no fault ever attaches to policy and operations. he went ahead with the Afghanistan “surge” partly because General Petraeus’ public relations campaign and back-channel lobbying on the Hill for implementation of his pet military strategy pre-empted other options. In 2009. These incidents raise the disturbing question of how much the democratically elected president — or any president — sets the policy of the national security state and how much the policy is set for him by the professional operatives of that state who engineer faits accomplis that force his hand.” To his list we might add 9/11. This No Fault conviction prevents them from taking too seriously such notorious foul-ups as Desert One. every US president has been a graduate of Harvard or Yale. His book about Congress. Mike Lofgren is a former congressional staff member who served on both the House and Senate budget committees. the incoming chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. Twenty-five years ago. with the exception of John McCain in 2008. the US government took the lead in restoring Baghdad’s sewer system at a cost of $7 billion. in 2010: “In Washington. Iraq. 2013. and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.  Meanwhile. Lebanon and now the Persian Gulf.  The attitude of many members of Congress towards Wall Street was memorably expressed by Rep. Gates — a one-time career CIA officer and deeply political Bush family retainer — has camouflaged his retrospective defense of military escalations that have brought us nothing but casualties and fiscal grief as the straight-from-the-shoulder memoir from a plain-spoken son of Kansas who disdains Washington and its politicians.  In recent months. Afghanistan and Libya. RELATED FEATURES Forget House of Cards — TV Dramas Can’t Capture the Real World of Politics Interview Highlights: Mike Lofgren Full Show: The Deep State Hiding in Plain Sight Juan Cole on the Vulnerability of the Network Heidi Boghosian on Mass Surveillance Danielle Brian on Legalized Corruption Andrew Bacevich on Washington’s Tacit Consensus Henry Giroux on Resisting the Neoliberal Revolution Reactions to Mike Lofgren’s Essay on the Deep State .”  Beginning in 1988.
economy.1K Are you aware of our Comment Policy? 189 Comments Sort by Newest Moyers & Company Share michael Favorite Join the discussion… HeevenSteven " 4 hours ago in his book "Democracy Inc". and the declinests. inequality. Social Change. uncovering. It's all downhill from here and it is irreversible. widget Like 18k 929 15 points 228 3. 2 CitizenX911 " " Reply " Share › 18 hours ago What rings clear is we now have a non-elected government operating outside our constitutional government and is purposely gridlocked. the reformists. Abrupt climate change can not be controlled now. economic inequality. 2 " Reply " Share › SomeRandomGuy " 8 hours ago A great read. all these groups can only react and as far as I can tell. There is a simple fact that rules the deep state. which he did not report on because of World War II. It's true. Should he have? He never doubted his judgment. refuse to give up. whether they accept it or not: Natural Law. 3 Jack Wolf " Reply " Share › " 12 hours ago Mike forgot something. the Manhattan Project. You can see mentions of it in ADVISE AND CONSENT and MARK COFFIN. It's a great read. A&C and MARK COFFIN have just been re-released. who was my uncle. Money & Politics.Tim Wu on the Partisan Sideshow and Silicon Valley TOPICS: Democracy & Government. money and politics. nsa. but in PENTAGON. 1 " Reply " Share › Kenneth Killiany " 7 hours ago This is an issue that concerns me greatly actually. Our government and judicial system have been hijacked and steps must be taken to remove Big Hidden money that is controlling our constitutional government. I find it interesting that you mention Allen Drury. he wrote a whole book about a bureaucracy can be diverted from what it is meant to do by concerns for its own prerogatives. he was very concerned about how the State just grew and operated on its won. wall street. This kind of reporting in your article is the kind he admired and it is a great service. Veterans & War TAGS: dark money. Al was a dogged reporter. thanks as always! 3 " Reply " Share › . To suggest that any of these groups are in control or have the ability to make substantial change belies what is really going on. still leaves me with a ray of hope for our country. for one. mike lofgren. and yet. Staggeringly honest. Both sides have adopted policies that have fed it. you can't get drama out of it. but he mentions it. History. Great interview Bill. From now on. However. 4 " Reply " Share › SomeRandomGuy Jack Wolf " 8 hours ago A defeatist attitude is one of the major hurdles towards true change. I. obama. today will be the best day of the rest of our lives. Sheldon Wolin described this system as "Inverted Totalitarianism". and PENTAGON will follow next year. deep state. where he discusses the whole public-private daisy chain and how irresponsible it is. in his day.
1 Philip B. You are 21st century Paul Reveres! Al Qaeda is less of a threat to America because of some future possible terrorist action. the opiate of digital media that pushes the idolatry of money & all things celebrity to distract us. Detroit. Tech. the "haves" always "have" and the "have nots" ---well --. Though there are many factors and stake-holders at work in the Ukraine issue. Spivey " " Reply " Share › 19 hours ago Deep State is such a wonderful term for something I've felt in my bones since reaching social consciousness as a teenager.k. You can write the Nov. Several years ago. Is there a hidden hand in all that I see? The Lofgren essay is chilling and. it behooves the citizenry of all western nations tainted by the same `deep-state' tyranny to bear witness. and more because the collective American fear it engenders helps the Deep State sink its claws more effectively into our national flesh. and our collective fear of terrorism (hence our perpetual war footing). while educating us about these hidden hands. but how this invasion is a metaphor for the larger invasion. privatization of the Intelligence Community (IC). I became acquainted with a book entitled: "The Paradigm Conspiracy.000.essentially stay the same. they may lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair. sadly. Citizens United (and other activist SCOTUS rulings).continue to not have. the United States was moving toward one-party rule. the important things--the deep structure of human welfare--. It will take bricks against bullets to resolve this global crisis once and for ever. The Evil Empire.G. our future as a struggling democracy depends upon us finding a rescue plan. among others. anti-war. I've seen the prison system balloon as it sweeps millions of Black and Latino men off the streets. 4 " Reply " Share › freelance-writer Ellie " 5 hours ago A. if not in actual boardrooms) to keep the people's power in check via libertarian deregulation.J. left to drown. America! Our country is being stolen from us in plain sight. I've seen the gap between the "haves" and "have nots" grow to grotesque proportions. IS what Mike Lofgren calls the Deep State. Sandom " 10 hours ago Good point about our old nemesis. As an early activist in the civil rights. I've seen the corporate entity AIG rescued and a city of 700.) Wake up. Thank you Bill Moyers. no matter the decade. no matter the Congress. I was always struck by how little "the deep structure" of our society changed. We still have a two party system which is a joke.a. Big Oil and Wall Street oligarchs. combined with the military-industrial complex (which Eisenhower tried to warn us against) collude (in spirit.G. but nothing ever comes of it! No one goes to jail The laws are changed to help the criminals . Sandom " 18 hours ago We have become almost as much a plutocracy as our former Cold War nemesis. No matter the president. Over the past thirty years. 9 " Reply " Share › Thomas Milligan J. Russia. 5 headline right now: "Republocrats Win Yet Again!" 2 Ellie " " Reply " Share › 19 hours ago We have all this information. I hope not.---Why our social systems violate our human potential and how we can . I always found it ironic that as the Soviet Union was collapsing. and thank you Mike Lofgren for helping to alert the American public. (HAL2. in my book. This is what my forthcoming novel. 404.:Ukraine 2014. unionbusting. is all about—not just how IP tech is invading our lives. antinuke movements during the 50s and 60s and a witness to the rise of movements for self-determination by Blacks. Unless people are hungry and cold and willing to die for a cause nothing is going to change in this country. women and homosexuals.
I think they want it this bad because they profit and garner influence when it is this ineffectual. But when these people are in office they change. The article also alludes to the notion that these companies in Silicon Valley are waking and trying to resist Deep State regime. Resistance may be the answer. The multi-nationals. Something more is needed. When Ralph Nader ran for office he was kept out by various means and not allowed to debate. D. Just look at how long the Vietnam war was protested and when Bush stumped for invasion of Iraq. 9 " Reply " Share › Andrew Kloak " a day ago This insightful essay shows that Silicon Valley is not be what it claims to be. Many of these people in these positions of power have no soul. People intuitively know that national security and corporate power are worn out dogmas. There is an urgency to all this. Profit is the highest good for companies and government. In other words voting will not work. what can we create to fill the soon void of this dysfunctional "deep state" More and more of us who wake up can join forces… we can make a difference. They didn't care. Each time we have an election I hear some good things.so now what is our work toward change? And if nature abhores a vacuum. it just is. All this is like marionette theatre. they don't want to. out of mind? 4 " Reply " Share › richard anderson " a day ago I have been giving the political system another chance since Vietnam. teach your children against your choices. and if all that doesn't work. The authors are Denise Breton and Christopher Largent. re-locate you to a cubicle in the city until the internment camps are ready to receive you when they've finally milked you for everything. they'll threaten and outlaw suppliers of your chosen products. Demonstrations don't work either. values and policies of the Hidden State. This talk of voting for the right person is not going to cut it. Neither is Wall Street or the massive build-up of federal government power around Washington. They want influence and money. by how we think! " Reply " Share › Mecca Wrecka margo " 3 hours ago if you do. Enormous change is just ahead but not without enormous turmoil.---Why our social systems violate our human potential and how we can change them". With the problems this deep and the protection that has been set up to keep this system in place there is NOT a way to change it. they have to answer to shareholders. Perhaps the Hidden State might be also termed our "51st State". These are the kinds of vectors that nourish the principles. James Clapper from the NSA used misdirection when reporters started to zero-in on the scale of the deception and breach of trust last Fall. The system is rigged.Conspiracy. psychological and societal needs for power. control and accumulation.C. This is a brilliant examination of the addictive and compulsive vectors that drive our social. Out of sight. see more 2 " Reply " Share › margo Andrew Kloak " 11 hours ago I agree -. " Reply " Share › moderator Mod " a day ago . California can't save American society. It doesn't have to be this way. the corporations get their power from us… we can choose to make it different by what we buy. We are only 12% of the entire population. Plus.
Wonderful essay. rant and lie about someone else. we as a society must begin seeing the faces and names associated with systemic problems.to kill us after raping away our rights and monies? " Reply " Share › Latuf Tak " a day ago Not sure whether to grin. and if you vote and find out you've made a mistake. 2 " Reply " Share › brainburst Charli03 " a day ago Send a zombie? No! Send people that understand that ideology is not an answer. Don't let a television station or a clever talk show or politician decide for you but spend time on each candidate. etc that give us the dysfunctional institutional systems that we are living within. We as citizens must . The only ones that benefit from this are the media giants from political spending and consultants. Left and right send true believers to the hill to fight and squabble in political theater. for having an inkling. How is the system to improve without the people knowing specifically who is doing what and when and where.moderator Mod " a day ago To the Community. It seems to me it isn't the politicians we need to work on.past. and future . It there is to be any chance of removing these people from positions of power. just a viewpoint. start the letters. 6 brainburst " Reply " Share › " a day ago You now why we are in the position we are in? Because we elect our representatives like producers cast reality TV shows. afraid to leave a job or refuse to risk change because we have to feed families. bills. google every article from a reputable source. or cry . present. People that understand this would be the opposite of zombies. Enough! We need to send grownups to congress not progressives not libertarians not conservative not ideologues of any sort! ideologues are beholden to their causes not their constituencies. change your vote. forget the hate blogs. PLEASE read our comment policy before commenting. Wake up people! Stop voting ideology! 1 " Reply " Share › Charli03 brainburst " a day ago Which means you would have to send a zombie. Slave owners had no compassion and the middle and lower classes in America are becoming slaves stuck in day-to-day existence. even change your party.as my worst fears are now validated. they would be independent thinkers unlike the ideological zombies that just parrot their beliefs " Reply " Share › Nap " a day ago Where is the expose identifying those individuals and political leaders responsible for the institutional problems discussed? Why aren't the individuals responsible for the changes targeted and highlighted like the list of names and photos of johns soliciting prostitutes. In the end it is an individual or group of individuals who propose and pass laws. will be deleted and you will be unable to participate in our community. but ourselves. Sean @ Moyers 5 " Reply " Share › Mecca Wrecka moderator " 3 hours ago what is hate speech? would that include responses worded appropriate to their plans . even if you are attempting to be sarcastic. legislation. Any hate-speech. but listen to what they say about themselves harder than you listen to how they slander. regulations. We need to stop the drive of theocracy.
If we are to survive we must focus on the psychological characteristics of these people we call leaders. no matter how improbable. It should always be majority rule. Where is the international community's opprobrium against war and famine ? Jean Ziegler says. which operates from now on without the approval of the UN. this. but what is the TREATMENT ? As Sherlock Holmes would say: "Once you eliminate the impossible. The only change has been the nuclear option change because a super majority was required in the senate before that -. subvert democracies and destroy populations and their freedoms. The world has changed since 1776 and the constitution needs to change with it -. to say nothing of other hundreds of appointees. there is no avoiding it.I think the other shoe just dropped. We cannot continue to talk about the systemic problems with our systems without knowing who created them and then ask the question why?. Good luck to us all ! " Reply " Share › Antonio Germano 1 " a day ago What filibustering? The Republicans don't have the votes. 6 " Reply " Share › Sisyphus Nap " 19 hours ago Nap. 7 " Reply " Share › . the DIAGNOSIS is clear. He says that the Lords of the Economic War attack the Normative State Powers of Sovereign States. indeed. Where is the public's outrage. but he is paying a heavy price. 4 " Reply " Share › Sharee Anne Gorman " a day ago !!Wow!! (jaw drop).stupid idea to begin with. We as citizens must demand that we have government in the sunshine to a degree that allows anyone to know specifically who is responsible for whatever proposal is implemented. 4 dalepues " " Reply " Share › a day ago We're hardwired for failure. that war is no longer sporadic but permanent. The democrats had a filibuster-proof majority for exactly 72 days after this president took office in 2009. without any control. and their principal weapon is nothing other than the American military power. committed citizens can change the world.. that because the wealth in the world is captured by so few people.S. Now. whatever remains. the DESEASE is well known.. the so-called Lords of the Economic War. The larger the civilization.that's why amendments were allowed. But who will have the courage to name names ? If you were to name names you might get "SLAPP"'ed or get sued for defamation. And Margaret Meade is correct when she says: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful. Where is the public discussion examining the motivation of the individual making these decisions. So should electing a president. the "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take this anymore" outrage ? Marty Kaplan called it "learned helplessness" in his "Let's be Brazil" column. in his book entitled "Empire of Shame". Occupy Wall Street points out the economic inequality suffered by the 99%. must be the truth". you're so right..dysfunctional institutional systems that we are living within. policy (domestic and foreign/militaristic and financial)! !! Wow !! First. it's the only thing that ever does". This time it would seem that we have destroyed much of the planet too. the larger the fall. So. with many major agencies left without a leader. " Reply " Share › Charli03 Antonio Germano " a day ago This republican congress has filibustered tenfold over any congress in the past and have kept this government gridlocked with more vacancies open than filled.. Edward Snowden did a very courageous thing.I consider this essay on par with the "Pentagon Papers" as regards U. It is the responsibility for the media to provide this information to the viewing public.
. Otherwise you would understand that the U. And here we are. The nationalization of finance is "privatization" and "deregulation"? FDR not a revolutionary? Government financing of political campaigns is "necessary. Get this straight.7 " Reply " Share › Eric_Saunders " a day ago How in the world does this author write such a long essay about the "Deep State" without mentioning Peter Dale Scott.call it corporatism. there certainly is disturbing similarity between the US and the PRC. I recommend doing so before chiding others. I fully agree that the endless things written ABOUT Marxism. the constant flow of commentaries. admitted that total state control would lead to total destruction. Learn something before you speak and shove your foot in your mouth.Gov hasn't enacted them all. Marx. Call it Communism. they plan their economy while we "fine tune" ours through the machinations of the Fed controlling the supply of money (and therefore. Too bad it turned out to be a pipe-dream. but not sufficient"? If it wasn't so consistent it would be ridiculous. dissertations. because they all ignore the destruction caused by Socialism. The Empire of the United States is a Marxist system. 4 " Reply " Share › Yourstruly Eric_Saunders " 9 hours ago Maybe you should enlighten us rather than call out the author. Mussolini-style fascism. That's why it's failing. " Reply " Share › BasicFunguist " a day ago Well. " Reply " Share › Bob_Robert " a day ago That was a painful read. is neither and by a long shot. its value) in circulation. 10 " Reply " Share › InjusticeForAll333 Bob_Robert " a day ago You clearly do not understand socialism or Marxism. Have you never read the Communist Manifesto? Go through the planks. If the flip-side of democracy is free-market economics something here has gone way out of kilter. That said. do not outline what is going on in America today. 7 " Reply " Share › InjusticeForAll333 Bob_Robert " a day ago . one by one. and tell me how the US Fed. the man most responsible for introducing the concept and the term to English speaking audiences? This is an inexplicable omission. explanations. 3 jerrymack 3 " Reply " Share › " a day ago We the people was a lovely idea.. 6 " Reply " Share › Bob_Robert InjusticeForAll333 " a day ago And you have never READ Marx. discussions about what Marx "really meant".S. ultimately. at least. Lofgren: There is no difference between Marxism and this "Washington Consensus". the effect is the same: the disenfranchisement and ultimate enslavement of the citizenry.
the retired military generals go. Too bad we don't see the name tags of the corporations they represent. ABC. unfortunately. and 99% of them promote some corporation dealing with the 1st govt. Please move on before anyone violates the comment policy. the destruction of trade unions and the middle class. Sean @ Moyers 1 Rob Lipton " " Reply " Share › a day ago Great discussion. and now reading this piece I have trouble with a GOP former congressional analysis troubled about how the govt is working or not working beginning in 2009. It could not possibly be worse. CBS. 2 " Reply " Share › Mod moderator InjusticeForAll333 " a day ago InjusticeForAll3333 and Bob_Robert You will have to agree to disagree. The Washington Post? NYT? WSJ? NBC. thanks. Sean @ Moyers 1 " Reply " Share › Bob_Robert InjusticeForAll333 " a day ago "you and I have apparently got a completely different set of reading comprehension skills" In that. Now that we have citizens united we're back into the age of the Robber Barons. " Reply " Share › moderator Mod Bob_Robert " a day ago Bob_Robert and InjusticeForAll3333. radio. it's. thanks. newspapers) spewing out a talking point for their respective 2nd govt think tank in DC. Please move on before anyone violates the comment policy. Anarchy. It's where all the retired legislators or lost elections legislators. the close collaboration of wealth and government. They pop up in media (tv. Mentioning the Deep State reminds me of Washington Post investigation exposing the 2nd govt in DC. we have complete agreement. Fox? New Yorker. 10 " Reply " Share › Federalist45 mthomas68 " a day ago How can the author and mthomas68 discuss any part of Big Media as anything but a part of the Deep State. classic 18 mthomas68 " Reply " Share › " a day ago I saw Mike on c-span Sunday and enjoyed his comments. TWS? All part of the Goebbels-like arm known as the . C-span is a major platform that they use. but a more accurate term for "deep state" is fascism. You will have to agree to disagree. As with many of former GOP legislators or analysts never do they dig deeper into the underlying problems that cause the congress to not work.InjusticeForAll333 Bob_Robert " a day ago I certainly have read Karl Marx' Communist Manifesto and I can assure you that you and I have apparently got a completely different set of reading comprehension skills. the congressional staff. NR.
thus we are slaved to the NWO BANKS and corporations Federal Reserve Banks buys and owns most of our debt. Globalization. Add to it corporate welfare and bailouts. 1 Herb 1 " " Reply " Share › a day ago " Reply " Share › Where there is no vision the people ???? WeNeedaDream Herb " a day ago Yep " Reply " Share › WeNeedaDream 1 WeNeedaDream " a day ago So how do We The People find or create an inspiring vision? " Reply " Share › . such that they really have no risk (since the taxpayer always pays off their risks). worshipping their keepers in government. 7 " Reply " Share › CitizenX911 Federalist45 " a day ago Rothschild family made their banking trillions beginning from financing Napoleon's wars up until now. and the glowing victories of WW. Add to it the evil welfare state designed to enslave millions in the underclass for eternity. but it might be what is fair. The Bankers truly own the world and War debt was the fastest way to do it.Deep State propaganda machine. RMN. one financial system running the world into their vision of one world government controlled by their big money. Everything trickles down from these taskmasters. global state." Wars were but a part of it. and BHO have brought us into what you call "debt slavery. is it time for a Jubilee? Zero out all debts just like in the olden days. governments. They been ruling us for a long time now. they are international now We are controlled by the bankers and the secret NWO financial network running the governments of the world. 1 " Reply " Share › CitizenX911 PAldrighetti " 16 minutes ago I feel nothing for Loan Sharks of any kind and they get what they deserve. the Statists have chipped away at liberty and property. CAMPAIGN FINANCE REFORM would fix us election process and would scare them knowing they can't put their bag men in office anymore. the Bush Clan. You cite the Post as if it were not part of this cabal? 2 CitizenX911 " " Reply " Share › a day ago Wars forced us into debt slavery to the Big banks that financed them. Add to it the Wall Street whores who are bailed out of every predicament of their own making. LBJ. etc and their influence knows no bounds. FDR. The common theme here is that the ENTIRE THING is designed to destroy the only barrier--the American middle class--standing in the way of the pure. again paid for by the taxpayer. " Reply " Share › Federalist45 CitizenX911 " a day ago Since Lincoln. it *might* destroy some of those Banks. Follow the money and everything is controlled by where it leads. Their family owns media houses. You will never see their family listed on Forbes richest people lists because they own the media and do not want to see their names or advertise their wealth. Granted. 8 " Reply " Share › PAldrighetti CitizenX911 " 3 hours ago So.
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