We are at war. There is an enemy, soldiers, heroes, and victims. And because we are at war, we will be subject to an unceasing propaganda effort to shape our thinking about what is happening, or should happen, and what we can do about it. During times of war and catastrophe, we must as the story goes, sacrifice some liberty for security. Power coalesces in the face of catastrophe, where large scale coordination is required to address unforeseen events, and we are told that this was an unforeseen event. This is part of what it means to live in a representative democracy, where the rule of law prevails above all else. The rule of law in America is a self-licking ice cream. Whenever new laws brought about by states of emergency are enacted, a “new normal” begins to congeal in the minds of Americans, and these new laws become part of the landscape of American life, part of a rules-based society – the rule of law ultimately prevails, regardless of the scope of its power. This means that in America, provided we are able to maintain the appearance of legitimacy in our plebiscites, the outcome of voting has the imprimatur of the people and the patina of political authority. We all have a role to play in this “live exercise”.
The most significant changes in society happen in short convulsions, where a dangerous enemy is clearly defined. This fact was well understood long ago, and was articulated with great clarity in the minutes of the Carnegie Foundation’s first meetings in the early 1900s, which were uncovered by the United States House Select Committee to Investigate Tax-Exempt Foundations and Comparable Organizations (aka, the Reece Committee), when they were engaged in a grand effort to shape the future of America. Norman Dodd, the head researcher of the Reece Committee recalls: (more…)
May we live in interesting times, as the curse goes. Political change agents among the least of us have been denied once again, and those that sit at the tables of power are in the grips of a full blown effort to convince the people that the institutional structures of society are fundamentally sound, and that all that is needed is a competent manager at the helm to guide us through the rough waters we have been experiencing lately. You know the thing; we have to keep it great, lest someone come along and peer behind the curtain only to find that a revolution is brewing. The virus that plagues us may or may not be man-made, but the shape of things to come certainly will be.
As our selected officials flood the media with statements that have the phrase “war-time footing” (read: emergency extra-legal authority) sprinkled throughout, it is clear in which direction the country, and the world, is being led. And make no mistake, the war being fought on all sides of the crisis before us is an information war. We are currently in the reaction phase, which will shortly be followed by the solution phase. The solution phase will at minimum, include the following: (more…)
A brief history of the modern presidency and impeachment
Monday, 6 January 2020
What is the de facto role of the modern presidency throughout history? If we examine the actions taken by all US presidents in the modern era, and let the common denominators be the ultimate measure, then the answer would be to preside over organized violence. This is certainly true from a theoretical perspective as well, since the existence of the State is dependent upon having a monopoly on violence. Additionally, if political action rather than political rhetoric is understood as the gold standard of future behavior, then the executive branch will pursue the following policies, regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election: (more…)
As the soul of America travels through the katabasis known as Trumpism, we are able to catch a glimpse of the various conjurings out of the Hegelian grimoire taking place that are shaping the narrative of the current historical moment. Rhetorically, the most strident voices against Trumpism are decrying what they view as a Völkisch pastiche underway, as if part of the country is under the spell of some kind of cult of personality mixed with a dash of ethno-nationalism – a mass ritual that will result in a society full of Minute Men asking non-whites for their identification papers, ready to deport anything not wrapped in Old Glory. The staunchest examples of this kind of politico-cultural gemeinschaft are Nazism and Zionism. But does Trumpism parallel these kinds of weltanschauung? In some ways it does, but in others ways, it represents the opposite. The one world government, resulting in a nationalist backlash, leading to a multilateral denouement dialectic being played out misses the larger picture. Namely, the new thesis that results from the synthesis we seem to be heading toward. Trumpism fits the fascist moniker in that it embodies romantic ideas of the great return to a Golden Age, (more…)
Donald Trump, Steve Bannon, and the ghost of Edward Mandell House
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
Jacksonian revolt? At least that was the mile wide and inch deep characterization of the Trump Administration provided by an essay in the current issue of Foreign Affairs. The Trump Administration has packed its cabinet and top advisors with generals, investment bankers, and oil executives who serve the global military industrial complex and corporate interests of central banks the world over. The irony here is of course that Andrew Jackson railed against the power of central banks and corporate power, and counted as his crowning achievement the winning of the so-called Bank War in 1841, fought over the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United States (another irony is of course that for all Jackson’s hatred of central banks, his face was put on the $20 bill – a central bank note). He argued that giving a bank the power to control the money supply is unconstitutional. Imagine that argument being proffered in mainstream political discourse today.
To use a form of the now well-known “literally vs. seriously” heuristic so popular with Trumpism, populist is what the Trump Administration is rhetorically, corporatist is what it is in practice. A glaring and ignored question among those who view the Trump presidency as an effort to attrit the power of the Deep State is: If Trump is an enemy of the Deep State, why is the balance of the executive branch and key economic positions within the government now run by corporate financial interests (Rothschild and Goldman Sachs in particular)? This administration appears to represent an intramural game between factions of the Deep State, and not outsiders attempting to upend the status quo. All the discussion around deconstructing the administrative state, which on its face would indeed make government more responsive to those it purports to represent, i.e., the voters, seems like a red herring, as what is actually happening is one power faction wresting control from another.
If returning the power of government back to the people was the goal, an immediate effort to do the following would ensue: the reinstitution of Glass-Steagall (update) or an equivalent, a radical reformation of campaign financing laws which focuses on transparency and stringent limits on political donations, passing a law requiring all electronic voting machines be auditable via a paper trail and run by open source code software. And if they were truly serious, the Executive Branch could work with Congress to take back its constitutionally mandated power to print money under Article I, Section 8, Clause 5, and take it out of the hands of private corporations (repealing the Federal Reserve Act of 1913). This would be a good start. (more…)