The Military/Intelligence Community and American Oligarchy

By MIKE SPINDELL

A common theme in many of my posts is that America is not a democracy, rather it is an oligarchy, made up of various centers of power. These centers of power are not 1024px-Americanflagshomogenous, rather they are composed of people and groups, each egotistically vying for power, both politically and economically.  Therein, so far, lies the saving grace for we the people. Behind the scenes of the Executive Branch, Legislative Branch and Judicial Branches of our tri-partite republic, exists a kind of permanent governing force, that for the most part is running the show. The government we see and the political machinations that appear to be its operations, is merely the U.S. version of a Potemkin Village : i.e. a creation meant to fool onlookers for political purposes. It has become common parlance to discuss those who live inside Washington’s Beltway Bubble, as being disconnected from the “real” America. Those “Bubble” inhabitants represent bureaucrats, legislators, judges, academics, media and pundits, who all are complicit in perpetrating and perpetuating the hoax of American Democracy. While they never admit to this publicly, except sometimes obliquely, their overarching cynicism is always shown through their statements which reek of propaganda and “groupthink” rather than insight. Since I believe that this state of affairs is detrimental to a high percentage of Americans, in my small way I’ve taken it upon myself to try to expose the tragedy and the farce of American policy and politics. Therein lies the problem. In my efforts and those of like mind, we are like the parable of the Blind men and the elephant , which ” implies that one’s subjective experience can be true, but that such experience is inherently limited by its failure to account for other truths or a totality of truth.”

For thirty-two years of my career I worked as a bureaucrat in one of New York City’s largest and bet funded Agencies. It was called the Human Resource Administration, but at its core it was the “Welfare Department”. When I started as a lowly caseworker it was an Agency of 25,000, with billions in funding. At the point I “retired” at age 55, I had risen to the point where I could use 8 of the top 10 Commissioners for personal references, as I applied for non profit jobs. My “rise” was accomplished without political connections, as was the case for so many others that I knew. Bureaucracies are interesting places in that there are rules for everything one does. If you know the rules, it is surprising how much one can accomplish, within a bureaucracy. It is also fascinating how much one may thwart the desires of superiors and even the Mayor’s Office, for instance, if one doesn’t agree with particular political policies. My relating some aspects of my career is purposeful because I draw a parallel between the bureaucracy I worked in and the bureaucracies that exist within any organization, be it government or business. The military branches, the CIA, NSA, FBI, DEA are all bureaucratic entities, as is the behemoth of the Department of Homeland Security. Now beside the fact that a knowledge of the rules and the laws that govern a particular bureaucracy, gives the bureaucrats within it the ability to thwart the aims of “higher ups”, there is another common supposition that the bureaucrats have a detailed and specialized knowledge, not shared by their superiors, who are generally in their superior positions due to some sort of political/social advantage. If you concur with my premise that all bureaucracies are similar in their operations, then please follow as I explain why I believe that in our current system, despite who we elect, the same policies of American Empire continue along unchecked by civilian oversight.  Continue reading

Posted in Afghanistan, American History, Barack Obama, Big Oil, CIA, Civil Liberties, Cold War, Communism, Conspiracy, Constitutional Law, Corruption, DOJ, Economics, Enlightenment, FBI, Government, History, Hypocrisy, Imperialism, Iran, Iraq, Media, Memories, Nazis, NSA, Oligarchy, Political Science, Politics, Presidents, Propaganda, Saudi Arabia, United States, US Military, Vietnam, War, World History, World War II | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Jon Stewart Welcomes Koch Industries as a New Sponsor of “The Daily Show”

By Elaine Magliaro

Last Night, Jon Stewart “welcomed” Koch Industries as a new sponsor of The Daily Show with a funny segment on the Comedy Central network. Stewart showed “a slick new ad” from the company that had appeared during a program commercial break earlier in the week. Brendan James of Talking Points Memo said, “The TV spot featured images of sunny landscapes and beaming factory workers while praising the multinational corporation.” But…Stewart and his team decided to “tweak” the original Koch ad and provided a newer and better version of the commercial that “mercilessly mocks” the robber baron billionaire brothers.

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Posted in Campaign Finance, Fascists/Corporatists, Media, Oligarchy, Politics, Propaganda, Society, United States | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

Is Lindsey Graham Joking?

Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C. - (R)

Sen. Lindsey Graham, S.C. – (R)

by Gene Howington

South Carolina Senator and possible Presidential candidate Lindsey Graham has, at best, an odd sense of humor.  Personally, I find him about as funny as red tide but apparently his audience at an all-male Irish Catholic Hibernian Society of Charleston meeting thought he was a hoot when he said, “I’m trying to help you with your tax status. I’m sorry the government’s so fucked up. If I get to be president, white men in male-only clubs are going to do great in my presidency.” Whether it appeals to your particular sense of humor or not, comedy has rules. One of those rules is that it must be grounded in truth.  Why? Because a joke usually relies on exaggeration and/or contrast to provide the funny. So what is the underlying truth here?

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Posted in Campaign Finance, Corruption, Democracy, Equal Rights, RNC, United States | 20 Comments

The Fifteenth Post in the “Oh My Achin’ Head” Series: Louie Gohmert Says the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and Massages Will Make the Military “Vulnerable to Terrorism” (VIDEOS)

Rep. Louie Gohmert Texas

Rep. Louie Gohmert
Texas

 

By Elaine Magliaro

It was just a matter of time before Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas became the subject of one of my posts in the “Oh My Achin’ Head” Series. Gohmert—who, Charles Pierce once said, was “perhaps the dumbest mammal to enter a legislative chamber since Caligula’s horse”—is known for his strange speeches and lectures about various and sundry topics on the floor of the House and during committee meetings. Over the years, those subjects have included bestiality, necrophilia, terrorist babies, and the sex lives of caribou.

 

Rep. Gohmert attacks DADT, Hate Crimes bill

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Posted in Conservatives, Homosexual Rights, Politics, Society, United States | Tagged , , , | 13 Comments

From Carter to Obama: Centrist Democrats are Losers

Submitted by MIKE SPINDELL

In my opinion the two writers I most respect in analyzing the political narratives of our 200px-Thomas_frank_2012country are Thomas Frank and Rick Perlstein . So when I ran across an article today at Salon , where Frank was discussing his interview with Perlstein, my interest was piqued. The article titled: “Thomas Frank: We are such losers” compares and contrasts the Presidency’s of Jimmy Carter and Barack Obama, with side trips dealing with the losing Democratic Party candidates in between. The comparison between Carter and Obama surprisingly shows how similar these two men are and the false projection of their politics that allowed them to become President. This is a great read and here is a selection from it to whet your appetite for the whole article:

“That we are living through an endless repeat of the 1970s is becoming more apparent all the time. Nostalgia and retro culture burn as brightly today as they did in the era of “Happy Days” and “American Graffiti,” while distrust and suspicion of government hover at near-Watergate levels. Disaster dreams are everywhere, just as they were in the days of “The Towering Inferno” and Three Mile Island. The culture wars, the 1970s’ No. 1 gift to American politics, still drag on and on, while the New Right, the decade’s other great political invention, effortlessly rejuvenates itself. Jerry Brown is governor of California again. The Kansas City Royals are a good team.

No reminiscence of that decade of malaise would be complete without mentioning Jimmy Carter, the president who—fairly or not—will be forever associated with national drift and decline and all the other horrors that were eventually swept away by the Reagan magisterium. Indeed, comparing the hapless Carter to whoever currently leads the Democratic Party remains a powerful shibboleth for American conservatives, and in 2011 and 2012 Republicans indulged in this favorite simile without hesitation.

I pretty much ignored the Carter-Obama comparison in those days because it was so manifestly empty—a partisan insult based on nothing but the lousy economy faced by both Carter and Obama as well as the recurring problem of beleaguered American embassies in the Muslim world. (Get it? Benghazi=Tehran!) More important for Republican purposes was the memory that Jimmy Carter lost his re-election campaign, which they creatively merged with their hopes that Obama would lose, too. Other than that, the comparison had little connection to actual facts; it was a waste of trees and precious pixels.

What has changed my mind about the usefulness of the comparison is my friend Rick Perlstein’s vast and engrossing new history of the ’70s, “The Invisible Bridge.” The book’s main subject is the rise of Ronald Reagan, but Perlstein’s detailed description of Carter’s run for the presidency in 1976 evokes more recent events so startlingly that the comparison with Obama is impossible to avoid. After talking over the subject with Perlstein (watch this space for the full interview), I am more startled by the similarities than ever.”

Follow the link to Salon to see the surprising similarities between these two supposedly progressive Presidents.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in American History, Barack Obama, Big Oil, Conservatives, Economics, Fascists/Corporatists, Government, Historical Persons, Jimmy Carter, Labor Movement, Liberals, Neoconservatives, Political Science, Politics, Presidents, Progressives, Propaganda, Ronald Reagan, Stock Market, United States, US Military, Wall Street, War | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Thank You for Your Service: A Propaganda Meme from the Defense Department

Submitted By MIKE SPINDELL

Back in June I did a post called “We Honor Your Service” , which was a short piece DODabout how this meme had become ubiquitous at the mention of any veteran’s career in the military. In the piece I contrasted the easy way this formula falls off of one’s lips today as juxtaposed with the reality that our country really doesn’t “honor” anyone’s service, as shown by the actions of our government as run by the Corporate/Military/Intelligence Complex (CMIC). The fact is though, my cynicism comes from one who in his youth opposed the Viet Nam War and was lucky enough to escape the draft due to high blood pressure, so my integrity about serving never was tested. Today I came across an article from someone who was a U.S. Army Ranger that served two tours in Afghanistan. His name is Rory Fanning and he writes with precision and eloquence. I will present Rory’s opening paragraphs in his article and you can click on the quote to read his entire piece. It speaks elegantly to the hypocrisy that exists in the glorification of our troops and the reality this meme covers up, in service to the CMIC:

“Last week, in a quiet indie bookstore on the north side of Chicago, I saw the latest issue of Rolling Stone resting on a chrome-colored plastic table a few feet from a barista brewing a vanilla latte. A cold October rain fell outside. A friend of mine grabbed the issue and began flipping through it. Knowing that I was a veteran, he said, “Hey, did you see this?” pointing to a news story that seemed more like an ad. It read in part: “This Veterans Day, Bruce Springsteen, Eminem, Rihanna, Dave Grohl, and Metallica will be among numerous artists who will head to the National Mall in Washington D.C. on November 11th for ‘The Concert For Valor,’ an all-star event that will pay tribute to armed services.” “Concert For Valor? That sounds like something the North Korean government would organize,” I said as I typed Concertforvalor.com into my MacBook Pro looking for more information. The sucking sound from the espresso maker was drowning out a 10-year-old Shins song. As I read, my heart sank, my shoulders slumped. Special guests at the Concert for Valor were to include: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, and Steven Spielberg. The mission of the concert, according to a press release, was to “raise awareness” of veterans issues and “provide a national stage for ensuring that veterans and their families know that their fellow Americans’ gratitude is genuine.” Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen were to serve in an advisory capacity, and Starbucks, HBO, and JPMorgan Chase were to pay for it all. “We are honored to play a small role to help raise awareness and support for our service men and women,” said HBO chairman Richard Plepler. Though I couldn’t quite say why, that Concert for Valor ad felt tired and sad, despite the images of Rihanna singing full-throated into a gold microphone and James Hetfield and Kirk Hammett of Metallica wailing away on their guitars. I had gotten my own share of “thanks” from civilians when I was still a U.S. Army Ranger. Who hadn’t? It had been the endless theme of the post-9/11 era, how thankful other Americans were that we would do… well, what exactly, for them? And here it was again. I couldn’t help wondering: Would veterans somewhere actually feel the gratitude that Starbucks and HBO hoped to convey?Please read Rory’s article because he makes points about which all Americans should be cognizant.

Posted in Afghanistan, American History, Big Oil, Celebrity, China, Cold War, Empire, Foreign Policy, George W. Bush, Government, Government Propaganda, Heroism, History, Hypocrisy, Iran, Iraq, Media, Memories, Mythology, Neoconservatives, North Korea, Pakistan, Politics, Propaganda, Society, Syria, United States, US Military, Vietnam, War, War on "Terror", World History | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Smashing Pumpkins: Miles from Ferguson (MO) in a Thug-less Land Far, Far Away Drunken White Revelers Whoop It Up While Trashing a College Town in New Hampshire

By Elaine Magliaro

I’ve traveled to Keene, New Hampshire, on many occasions. I used to go there every October to attend the wonderful Keene State College Children’s Literature Festival. I even served on the festival’s advisory board from 2006-2008. Keene is a lovely, quiet, idyllic New England college town. I always enjoyed spending time there during foliage season.

I was saddened and shocked to hear about the recent riot in Keene during its famous Pumpkin Festival. From the multiple reports that I’ve read about what happened last weekend, crowds of drunken—and predominately white—college kids went wild. Inebriated partiers smashed windows, slashed tires, tore down street signs, and overturned cars and Dumpsters. They also threw bottles, beer cans, skateboards, buckets, and pumpkins. At least thirty people sustained injuries—including lacerations and broken bones—and had to be transported to a nearby hospital. Injuries were incurred during fistfights, jumps from rooftops—and from other blunt traumas.

Riots, fires, violence continue in Keene streets Saturday night

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Posted in Crime, Justice, Law Enforcement, Racism, United States | Tagged , , | 47 Comments