As in the song "Lawyers In Love" we have a land, a nation with too many in high places willing to do anything for money neglecting people, honor and principle but a change is coming. No more falling for the lie of living only individualistic and independent lives leaving us divided and conquerable by powerful special interests but a people, a nation collaborating for the greater common good in various groups all across the nation. A land of people working together to help one another with a vision moreover as Jesus would have us be. Love, Mercy, Forgiveness, Kindness....something about another Land. The change is coming

Thursday, April 14, 2016

What Is The Deep State (The Hidden Corporate State)

There is the visible United States government, situated in imposing neo-classical buildings around the Mall in Washington, D.C., and there is another, more shadowy and indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is the tip of an iceberg that is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg operates on its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.

Yes, there is another government concealed beneath the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, tethered to but only intermittently controlled by the visible state whose leaders we nominally choose. Those who seek a grand conspiracy theory to explain the phenomenon will be disappointed. My analysis of the Deep State is not an expose' of a secret, conspiratorial cabal. Logic, facts, and experience do not sustain belief in overarching conspiracies and expertly organized cover-ups that keep those conspiracies successfully hidden for decades.

Some on both ends of the political spectrum, but now mainly on the increasingly radical Right, routinely liken the prevailing governance of the United States to Nazi Germany or Stalinist Russia. Aside from trivializing historical crimes of unthinkable magnitude, such irresponsible hyperbole leads us away from proper diagnosis and cure. Like wise many on the Left say George W. Bush is a demonic figure when in reality he was a man out of his depth who came to the presidency at exactly the wrong time in history.
Rather than making ludicrous and politically self-serving historical comparisons to other epochs, we should ask which specific deformities in our own system created lamentable specimens like Bush and promoted them to power, and

why a president with a personality so apparently different as Obama's should govern in a manner so similar to Bush on the big issues of national security, the economy, and the accountability of government to the people.

The Deep State does not consist of the entire government. It is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies, plus key parts of the other branches whose roles give them membership. The Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Justice Department are all part of the Deep State. We also include the Department of the Treasury because of its jurisdiction over financial flows, its extensive bureaucracy devoted to enforcing international economic sanctions, and its organized symbiosis with Wall Street (as we shall see, the Treasury has uniquely become the epicenter of a new form of national security operation, with some of its day to day execution outsourced to American financial Institutions in almost the same way the Pentagon has outsourced military logistics in war zones to contractors). All these agencies are coordinated by the executive Office of the President via the National Security Council.

Certain key areas of the judiciary belong to the Deep State, like the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (appointed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court). Whose actions are mysterious even to most members of Congress. Also included are a handful of vital federal trial courts, such as the Eastern District of Virginia and the Southern District of Manhattan, where sensitive proceedings in national security cases are conducted.

While the government may be obsequiously attentive to the desires of all corporate entities, this governmental complex I have described is even more intimately connected by a web of money, mutual goals, and career-ism to specific and very powerful elements of corporate America. These elements include the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, and surprising as it may sound to some—Silicon Valley (one former NSA insider told me the spy agencies are completely dependent on Silicon Valley's technology, communications backbones, and cooperation to even begin to perform their mission).

The Deep State does not consist only of government agencies. What is euphemistically called private enterprise is an integral part of its operations. In a special series in the Washington Post called “Top Secret America” Priest and Arkin described the scope of the privatized Deep State and the degree to which is has metastasized after the September 11 attacks. There are now 854,000 contract personnel with top-secret clearances—a number greater than that of cleared civilian employees of the government. Combined they occupy the floor space of almost three Pentagons—about 17 million square feet. Seventy percent of the intelligence community's budget goes to paying contracts with private-sector companies.

The membrane between government and industry personnel is highly permeable: the director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper, was an executive of Booz Allen, the government's largest intelligence contractor. His predecessor as director, Vice admiral Mike McConnell, is the current vice chairman of the same company. Booz Allen is virtually 100 percent dependent n government business(Carlyle Group, a private equity firm with $189 billion in assets under management, owns a majority stake in Booz Allen's government business).

These contractors increasingly set the political and social tone of Washington, just as they set the direction of the country, but they are doing it quietly, their doings unrecorded in the Congressional Record or the Federal Register, and they are rarely subject to congressional hearings.

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary puppet show. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo. Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests.

It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and it's strategies, if for no other reason that 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 government salary-man.

This inverted relationship is also true between the visible government and Silicon Valley,defined here in it's broader sense to mean not only hardware and software companies, but the telecommunications backbones that enable these devices to work.
Accordingly, Congress has been as indulgent toward Silicon Valley as it has toward Wall Street: the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was a public auction of votes for money, and in return the industry received extraordinary leeway to abuse its market power over consumers, as any cable subscriber will attest.

While nothing in America can rival the material opulence of Wall Street or Palo Alto in recent years, the center of gravity of the Deep State remains situated in and around the nation's capital.

Washington's explosive expansion and consolidation around the Beltway would seem to make a mockery of the frequent pronouncements that national governance is breaking down. The institutions of the visible state may be dysfunctional, but the machinery of the Deep state has been steadily expanding. That this secret and the unaccountable shadow government floats freely above the gridlock between both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue is the paradox of American governance in the twenty-first century: drone strikes, data mining, secret prisons, and Panopticon-like control of citizen's private data thanks to the technology of Silicon Valley on the one hand; while the ordinary, visible institutions of self-government decline to the status of a banana republic.

Few have stood back to examine these seemingly separate stories as related and synergistic components of a much larger story: the transformation of the United States from a quasi-social democracy to a political oligarchy maintaining the outward form, but not the spirit, of constitutional government. A different kind of governing structure has evolved that made possible both the rapacity of Wall Street and the culture of permanent war and constant surveillance. These superficially distinct phenomena are outgrowths of the same political culture, so they must be seen as related, just as a house cat and a leopard are related through a common ancestor.

The state within a state that promotes and benefits from militarism, a plutocratic boom-and-bust economy, and a comprehensive surveillance state is hiding in plain sight. Its operators pursue agendas that are hardly secret. That they are uncompromisingly self-seeking should hardly be surprising, nor is it evidence of a deep-laid plot. As the political scientist Harold Lasswell observed more than half century ago, 

"a society's leadership class consists of people whose “private motives are displaced onto public objects and rationalized in terms of public interest.”

It slightly misses the mark to fall back on traditional terminology and refer to the leaders of the Deep State simply and without elaboration as “the establishment.”

All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of it's scope, financial resources, and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state is in a class by itself: sheer quantity can achieve a quality all its own. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister(although it possesses menacing aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures—Iraq, Afghanistan,Libya; its manifest incapacity to anticipate, avert, or appropriately respond to the greatest financial crash since the Great Depression; even its curious blindness to the obvious potential for a hurricane to drown New Orleans-- are routine enough that it is only its protectiveness toward its higher-ranking officials that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.

Far from being brilliant conspirators, the prevalence of mediocre thinking is what frequently makes the system's operatives stand out. We had better debunk an erroneous popular notion which holds that structures that arise from evolutionary processes are qualitatively “better” than the ones preceding them. The Deep State is a wasteful and incompetent method of governance. But it persists because its perverse incentive structure frequently rewards failure and dresses it up as success. It's pervasive, largely commonplace corruption and creation of synthetic bogeymen and foreign scapegoats anesthetize the public into a state of mind variously composed of apathy, cynicism, and fear—the very antithesis of responsible citizenship.

by Mike Lofgren
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