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Bill Moyers Discussion Calls Out Our Unelected, "Deep State," Shadow Government

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 What follows here is a synopsis of a discussion between Bill Moyers and Mike Lofgren, a disillusioned government insider who now says in his book and article that the Deep State is the red thread that runs through the history of the last three decades.   Here then are insights about how we came to have too much deregulation, a harmful "financialization" of the economy, the Wall Street & bankster rip-offs, the erosion of our civil liberties, and perpetual warfare.   Here too described are the derivative forces, methods and people that now surreptitiously guide and control our government, so that billions can be cleverly if not criminally extracted from our economy, no matter the party in power.

If you've read the espionage novels of John le Carré, you know that no other writer today has so brilliantly evoked the subterranean workings of government, perhaps because he himself was once a British spy.   Le Carré gave a name to that invisible labyrinth of power.   He dubbed it the "Deep State."   And now Mike Lofgren has seized on that concept to describe the forces he has seen controlling our government, no matter the party in power.

While not an intelligence agent himself, Lofgren had a top secret security clearance.   He was a Congressional staff member for 28 years with the powerful House and Senate Budget Committees.   Over those years, the budgetary numbers he saw allowed him a good view of America's own Deep State within which elected and unelected figures collude to protect and serve powerful vested interests.   And he was so disgusted with what he discovered that he not only left Capitol Hill, he left the Republican Party and wrote this book , "The Party Is Over:   How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless and the Middle Class Got Shafted."   He has also written a great article, "Anatomy of the Deep State."  

The "Deep State" is not some cabal that was hatched in the dark of night.   Rather, it is something that hides in plain sight.   It's something almost all of us know about, superficially, yet most of us still don't connect most of the dots that are right in front of us.   The Deep State inconspicuously grew out of the fact that so much money and political control came to be at play in the most powerful country in the world.   Essentially it is an evolved hybridization of corporate America and the national security state.  

Everyone knows about the military-industrial complex that Eisenhower described it in his farewell address:   "We must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence whether sought or unsought by the military-industrial complex.   The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.   We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes."

Everyone also knows about Wall Street and its depredations, and about how corporate America acts:   It's about sucking as much money out of the nation's economy as possible.   And to do that most effectively, they need to have behind-the-scenes political control.   Thus the opportunistic evolution of the Deep State, i.e. the shadow government operating behind the scenes that gives Wall Street and corporate America the political and financial control that this unprecedented wealth extraction requires.

The Deep State transcends congressional gridlock

The commonly understood narrative of the last five years is that government is broken.   It's dysfunctional.   It's gridlocked.   This is the visible government, the constitutional government we learn about in Civics 101.   And yet, in spite of the limits on presidential power that we learn about in Civics 101, Obama can somehow go into Libya without congressional approval, can order the assassination of US citizens, and can, through the NSA, collect all our phone and Internet records without permission from anyone.   He can even force down a jet airliner carrying a president of a sovereign country without asking anyone's permission.   And no one seems to connect this failure of our visible constitutional government and this shadow government, or Deep State, within it, which operates according to no constitutional rules or any constraint by the governed.

But it's not just the executive branch that is at the heart of the Deep State.   Also at its heart are all the national security functions of our government, i.e. the Pentagon, Homeland Security, the State Department, and even the Treasury Department, which all have a symbiotic relationship with Wall Street, another Deep State constituent.

Wall Street and the Treasury Department (in conjunction with the Federal Reserve) not only control the flow of money;   there is a constant exchange of personnel between them.   In addition, there's also involvement by a small portion of the judiciary, the so-called Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Courts;   yet most of Congress doesn't fully know how all this operates.

The flow of money and personnel between Wall Street and the national security state

What kind of money are we talking about?   Consider the New York restaurant that will sell you a truffle for $95,000.   Or the painting by Francis Bacon that Christie's sold at auction for $142 million.   Who buys this stuff?   Wall Streeters, banksters and the CEOs of big corporations mostly.  

Meanwhile, the NSA spends $1.7 billion of our tax money to build a facility in Utah that will annually collect one yottabyte of our personal information.   That's as much information as has ever been written in the history of the world.   Then too, a gallon of gasoline costs $400 by the time the Pentagon finishes paying contractors to haul it into Afghanistan and get it into some vehicle's tank.   And we've been using many thousands of gallons over there annually, for nearly a decade.   Another example is the development of the new F-35 fighter jet which is costing us billions, and the government is planning to build more than 2400 of them.   So both the national security state and the corporate state, are sucking money out of the US economy at rates most people do not comprehend.   The Deep State is at the heart of this and it is flourishing.

Meanwhile, our infrastructure collapses.   We have a Tinkertoy power grid that goes out every time there's inclement weather.   Tens of millions of people are on food stamps.   We incarcerate more people than dictatorial China, an authoritarian state with four times our population.   But how many of us clearly see this enormous and growing disparity between Deep State extravagance and the penury that is being forced on much of the rest of the country?   This isn't the result of any kind of natural or apolitical evolution.   This happened by way of political decisions and collusion taking place behind the scenes.

The result is a situation where the Deep State is essentially out of control, unconstrained.   Since 9/11 we have built the equivalent of three Pentagons around the DC metropolitan area, providing office space to defense contractors, intelligence contractors, and government civilians involved in the military-industrial complex.   There are over 400,000 contractors -- private citizens -- who have top-secret security clearances!

And they are heart and soul of the Deep State, which is being privatized.   This means that power is gradually shifting from supposedly accountable government officials to definitely unaccountable contractors.   About 70 percent of the intelligence budget now goes to contracts managed by these contractors.

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Several years after receiving my M.A. in social science (interdisciplinary studies) I was an instructor at S.F. State University for a year, but then went back to designing automated machinery, and then tech writing, in Silicon Valley. I've (more...)

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