Deep Thoughts On the Deep State

What is the deep state within, behind, or above the United States government? Let’s look at some real world examples of brief moments when we the public get to glimpse the dark underbelly of power, indicating what kind of beast it might be. Let’s begin wth a recent incident. Bloomberg News reported that Mitch McConnell threatened Trump. He told him that, if he pardoned Julian Assange, the Senate Republicans would ensure he was impeached even after he left office. Why was McConnell so concerned about ending the torture of an innocent man? And on whose behalf was he concerned? Was he acting alone or as an intermediary for others? Who exactly was worried about Assange going free? Why was he still deemed such a threat? Is Assange even still sane after all these years of solitary confinement? What harm could he do at this point?

Maybe it was simply punishment and setting an example to disuade others. Assange had revealed the illegal and unconstitutional actions of the deep state, and such forced democratic transparency and public scrutiny could not be forgiven. Still, threatening Trump is an audacious move, considering how much of a wild card he is. A threat might have backfired and sent Trump careening into unpredictable behavior. Besides, if the report on McConnell is true, that sounds like blackmail and should be prosecuted, but it’s reported in the corporate media as a normal news story — politics as usual, if a bit shady. [One is reminded of the FBI’s COINTELPRO-style attempt to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr. into suicide.] There has been little outrage in the media or among politicians, as few have pity for Trump. Most of the corporate media didn’t bother to say much about it. In web search results, a few articles from the alternative media showed up where the accusation of blackmail was suggested, although Tucker Carlson came close to calling it that on his show.

A worse case, from several years back, involved the Senate Intelligence Committee when they investigated and filed a report on “enhanced interrogation.” This investigaton was justfied by the fact that torture is illegal according to US and international law (e.g., the US government prosecuted WWII Japanese soldiers for waterboarding and sentenced them to death). That is why they located the torture prison in a foreign country that is outside of US legal jurisdiction. Trying to get around US law was an admission of guilt, althugh they would have preferred that the torture prison had remained a secret (one strongly suspects that many such secret prisons, torture or otherwise, are maintained by the deep state without ever being disclosed).

Anyway, the CIA criminally hacked the Senate’s computers, spied on the committee, intimidated Senate staffers, and attempted to block the release of the committee’s report about the CIA’s torture program. When caught, the CIA Director lied about it and then later refused to admit that it was wrong. Senator Dianne Feinstein, previously a supporter of spying on US citizens, suddenly became a critic when she found herself the target of spying. Yet, even then, nothing came of it. The CIA, having seriously broken the law and attacked democracy, was let off the hook with a mere apology, once again demonstrating that the rule of law only applies to the rest of us without power. Sadly, who ever revealed these crimes, if they had been caught, would’ve been treated like a criminal as happened to Assange or else they would’ve disappeared (by the way, who was the leaker and what happened to them?).

The deep state isn’t any single organization or group of people. It’s simply the collective actions that happen behind the scenes in determining what the government does — whether the ultimate source of power is high up in the government itself, in quasi-governmental organizations and networks, or in a cabal of puppet masters entirely outside anything that looks like government at all. In the above examples, these activities occasionally come to the surface, but most of what is done by the deep state never sees the light of day. When something does get ‘leaked’ or reported, it’s probably often because the deep state wanted it to be known, to serve as a warning or to manipulate media narratives and public perception. Our government is so tightly controlled, as is media reporting and public debate. Unplanned leaks, of course, are preferrably kept to a minimum.

As McConnell warned Trump, the CIA gave a warning to the Senate (similar to deposing Saddam Hussein and annihilating Iraq with an illegal war of aggression was a warning to other countries to not defy American interests or rather the deep state’s interests) — we live in a world of warnings. It is made clear, for those aware of the deep state, that everyone will do what the deep state demands or there will be harsh consequences. If the Senate Intelligence Committee hadn’t submitted to this power play and instead continued such investigations, and if they weren’t open to bribery or other soft coercion, the CIA would’ve found other ways of eliminating or silencing the Senators and staffers involved by means of blackmail, scandals, etc; maybe even accidental deaths.

Consider the death of Representative Sonny Bono when he was about to begin an official investigation that never happened because no one dared to follow up on it. Accident? Maybe or maybe not. He wasn’t the only politician to die skiing into a tree — less than a week before Bono’s death Michael Kennedy, son of assassinated Robert F. Kennedy, also had a similar tree-related ski accident (in that case, it seemed a more obvious accident). Or think of Paul Wellstone, someone on Karl Rove’s shit list, coming to an early death in a plane accident. And there is the case of Michael Connell, a witness in a case involving Karl Rove, who also met his end in a plane crash, after Rove supposedly threatened him. There is quite a list of politically-involved people dying in this manner, which makes one wonder what is the probability of dying in a plane for those in politics vs those not in politics.

Generally, there is a long history of investigators and witnesses suspiciously and conveniently dying of accidents and suicides when US officials and other powerful figures are investigated (Clint Curts, Ray Lemme, etc). Or people are suicided as well when they simply hold too much info that could hurt certain individuals and interests (e.g., Jeffrey Epstein supposedly killing himself in his prison cell precisely when the video camera failed and the guard was asleep). The corporate media has a habit of not doing investigative journalism into such coincidences, as everyone knows conspiracy theories are for loonies — a view promulgated by the deep state while inventing conspiracy theories of their own to muddy the water.

It’s probably why Sanders toes the line. He understands the power that could come down on him like a sledgehammer. Even Trump has enough sense of self-preservation to know when to back down and do what he’s told. Speaking of being at war with the deep state as political rhetoric is one thing, but actually challenging the deep state will really get one in trouble. It’s almost guaranteed that anyone who has been in DC government for decades (Bushes, Clintons, etc) is either in the deep state, an asset or agent of the deep state, controlled by the deep state, or otherwise subservient to and silent about the deep state. The problem with Trump is he turned out to be a loose cannon because of narcissism, mental illness, and senility; and so he was never going to be allowed into the deep state, despite spending decades as a political actor at the edge of it. He was a pawn of forces he didn’t understand.

This deep state doesn’t care about the United States, per se. All these malignant dominators care about is their own power that increasngly is international or transnational. I suspect that, if the US were to collapse, the CIA would continue to operate as an international power structure, although it likely would rebrand itself. The US serves the CIA or the deeper power behind it, not the other way around. The US is the present headquarters of the international deep state of inverted totalitarianism, but if a new global superpower took control this same global power elite would relocate their headquarters elsewhere. They go after whistleblowers and publishers of leaks for self-interested agendas, not patriotic defense of the nation-state.

On a more mundane level, this shift in political loyalty can be seen in the more open behavior of politicians. The US isn’t a normal country nor is it even a normal empire. Consider that a surpising number of US politicians have multiple citizenships. Technically, the US government doesn’t acknowledge the citizenships of other countries, but neither does it require loyalty to other countries be denounced. Not only can US politicans and other elites have multiple citizenships but also multiple houses, bank accounts, etc in other countries. If anything goes wrong in the US, they’d abandon ship in an instant and leave the rest of us to clean up the mess. They perceive themselves as a global ruling elite. Nationalism is so bourgeois.

That wouldn’t have been true of the older generations of political and economic elite. From the Federalists to the Roosevelts, there were plenty of upper crust Americans who were authoritarians and imperialists, but they were fairly open about it and softened it with patriotic nationalism and paternalistic noblesse oblige. Also, in the past, most business leaders accepted economic nationalism as the default position, identifying the nation’s interests as their own. None of these elites were neoliberals (with the pretense of) favoring unrestricted and unegulated global ‘free’ trade (enforced by neocon militarism) for they assumed that economics was a part of politics, and that both were defined by patriotic loyalty to one’s country. This would’ve meant an old boy’s club, just not a deep state as we know it and certainly not inverted totalitarianism.

That said, there was a reason the US government moved away from those old power structures. The Populist Movement, followed by the Progressive Era, was in response to immense corruption and elitist cronyism, along with machine politics and other kinds of local oppression such Jim Crow, company towns, etc. For all our complaints about our present system, the American ruling elite is less violent toward its own citizens than it was in the past, although now more violent to foreigners in having become the leading military empire. Certainly, the corruption didn’t go away but changed form in becoming more centralized and systematized. In an earlier era, local problems could be dealt with by democratic means or else direct action of protests, strikes, or riots — sometimes even gun battles between workers and corporate goons. Now the ruling elite, ever more distant, act as if they are untouchable.

Trump may have thought he was part of this untouchable class. And that seems to have been true for so many decades. Going by the evidence, he could’ve been prosecuted and imprisoned so many times in his lifetime. Yet, for some reason, he and his family seemed to get away with all kinds of things — possibly: tax evasion, money laundering, political bribery, sexual misconduct, etc. The legal system acted as if uninterested, such that some have wondered if he wasn’t working for the US government because of his ties to organized crime in New York City, Russia, and probably elsewhere. If he did have an agreement at one time, that agreement is apparently now null and void. As for the likes of Assange, it didn’t matter that he wasn’t a US citizen at all. The deep state doesn’t limit its claim of power and authority to the US itself. His only option of escape, like Edward Snowden, would have been to seek refuge within the territory of a competing global superpower with its own nefarious deep state.

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Conspiracy: Experience and Reality
Conspiracy Theory And Fact
Skepticism and Conspiracy
Powerful Conspiracies & Open Secrets
A Culture of Propaganda

12 thoughts on “Deep Thoughts On the Deep State

  1. thats the best explanation or definition of ‘ deep state ‘ i’ve seen or heard—i usually hear it in right or left wing circles as essnentially a conspiracy theory—bilderbergs, roithchild’s ,, obama-clinton-gates-biden… , bankers…sometimes china and russia, israel…

    your defintion realy seems just a new term for ‘power elites’–who exist, but are not unified and often are somehwat ‘self-made ‘— silicon valley, clinton, koch’s, obama…. probavbaly kennedy’s, rockefellors , carnegies sackeler—-descendents of somewhat ‘average people’ not kings and queeens.

    —while its absurd to keep assange locked i dont necesaarily view him as some liberator–he is in part, but also partly is just a hacker—make his name that way. trump ijn someways is similar. —-went from slumlord and corrupt buseinessman to take power for awhile. evven hitler i view as a sort of frustrated artist so he tried politics and got fame and power for awhile.
    to an extent they all had the mantle of ‘saviors’ and some believed them. assange revelared part of the deep state, hitler had the trains run on time, some americans loved trump AND STILL DO.

    • I’m kind of surprised to receive that compliment. It was an off-the-cuff piece, just me throwing out a few examples and thoughts. I wasn’t sure if there was enough substance to make my argument. It was more of a set of passing observations, initially in response to McConnell’s threat and considering what it might mean.

      No doubt, there are endless conspiracies that go on, but conspiracy isn’t necessary or not in the way typically understoood. Self-interest, plutocratic dynasties, cronyism, social networks, class identity, etc are highly effective all by themselves. Certainly, most peple operating within the deep state wouldn’t think of themselves as conspirators and they might not even realize they are part of a deep state.

      As you say, it’s not so much about who they are, as some of them aren’t far from having been lower class. The Bushes, in particular, demonstrate that as they are only a few generations of wealth and yet I’m sure George H. W. Bush was part of the deep state, in having been the head of the CIA, and Prescott Bush was supposedly part of the attempted coup called the Business Plot.

      What makes these people part of a deep state is that they’ve transitioned from local power and authority to ever more distant from the populations they control, to the point of only being marginally associated with the nation-state itself. As such, the extent of their control has expanded immensely, including a reach beyond even that of old empires. That is an interesting change, to say the least.

      • This article touches on the deep roots of the “deep state”:
        BIG LIES AND ENDLESS GRIEVANCES by Hugh J. Curran (OpEdNews, Op Eds) 1/23/2021
        The strident arguments put forward that “voter fraud” has taken place in the recent election continues to resonate with a segment of the population. What do the deniers really want? Is it a return to a status that kept blacks and indigenous in a secondary role? Is it that those who have, up to the present, been possessed of majoritarian status are convinced that an authoritarian government is necessary, or is it that the ideology of white supremacy is uppermost in their minds?
        In a World Values Survey (WVS) in 1995, 25% of Americans believed in a “strong leader who does not need to bother with election results”, whereas by 2017, “38% of Americans considered this non-democratic result as acceptable”. This belief has now been adopted by one-third of the population, and Donald Trump’s claim regarding the election being stolen has found an electorate willing to accept his “big lie”. Why is this sense of privilege and victim-hood so pervasive? Is it a recent phenomenon?

        According to sociologist Jacqueline Battalora, white rights and white privileges are historically based. The use of the term “white” was invented following Bacon’s Rebellion in 1674, as a strategic way of dividing the laboring classes from the privileged land-owners. Such property-owners decided on a “divide and conquer” policy to prevent further rebellions. In addition, an anti-miscegenation law had been passed in 1664, which was not discontinued for three hundred years. By diverting white grievances from class-based to race-based, the strategy adopted made white laboring class believe themselves possessing a higher status than African-Americans.
        The anti-miscegenation law was deliberately contrived to prohibit free blacks from possessing weapons and from testifying against whites. “White”, as a designation, was built  on the idea that white people were freeborn and deserving of rights and privileges denied to non-whites. In other words, “whiteness” became a political tool whose intention was to maintain control. The result of this was that the 1st Congress in 1790 decided that in order to become a citizen of the U.S. one had to be white, a stipulation that continued for 150 years. This stipulation made sure that, not only blacks, but also Native Americans, as well as Asian immigrants were not allowed to become citizens, which also meant they were not allowed to vote nor to have political clout.
        This attitude became embedded in the body politic to such an extent that a man with authoritarian pretensions such as Donald Trump could gain considerable support with his attempts to invalidate the elections in key states. His legal efforts never gained traction in the law courts, and even the Supreme Court, which Trump had convinced himself would support him, refused to do so since there was absolutely no evidence of voter fraud.
        Although the causes of white privilege extend back several hundred years, our present dilemma has a more recent history. In the 1920s Lothrop Stoddard became a popularizer of the Nordic Theory of race superiority while Madison Grant was known as the author of “The Passing of the Great Race”, published in 1916. Grant’s book was translated into other languages and read by a future German Fuhrer, who praised the book as “my bible”. Grant used the term “master race” to designate white supremacists and later became one of the directors of the American Eugenics Society, a society that encouraged sterilization as a means of controlling populations deemed unsuitable. This was also true of Lothrop Stoddard, whose 1920 book, The Rising Tide of Color: The Threat Against White World-Supremacy, had an introduction by Madison Grant. Lothrop Stoddard’s views were decried and derided by WEB Dubois in a 1929 Chicago debate with several thousand in attendance.
        Grant’s and Stoddard’s discredited theory is contrasted with the current science behind genetic studies, which asserts that human differences in intelligence are relatively minor and all humans share most traits in common and that differences within racial groups are far more similar than differences between racial groups. The basis of whiteness as a mark of distinction was at one time prevalent and such expressions as Aryans and Nordics were widely used. In fact, the term “Nordic” was resurrected by Donald Trump when he asserted that non-white, non-Nordic countries were “s*hole countries”.
        The fear of losing status and privileges to non-white citizens continues to be pervasive among a substantial portion of the population. The repetitive use of the “big lie”, with “voter fraud” as an underlying theme, suggests that real voters are white Americans while non-white voters are not real Americans. The Republican Party now represents this white American Party, while Democrats are branded as “far left” because they are more inclusive of the concerns of blacks, whites, Asians, Native Americans, Mexican-Americans, etc.
        Even as “voter fraud” is shown to be demonstrably false the repetition of the phrases “fake news” and “Make America Great Again” have become political ploys that will eventually lose their virulence. Such expedient phrases have a 300-year history but by looking back we are allowed to see the history of our political world with some degree of comprehension. We can realize that creating divisiveness based upon race is no longer sustainable since global communication and rapid transportation has begun breaking us out of three centuries of pathological manipulation of racial differences.
        The 21st century encompasses us in a global world where the usual emotional politics, based on invented prejudices, are no longer viable. Although we may experience reversions to older forms of politics, as in the resentful, angry Republican administration that is now, fortunately, out of office, we are in a far greater need of entering a multi-cultural, multi-colored world. The legacy of a racist past and the demagogues who take advantage of past antagonisms, with the support of such groups as QAnon, the proud boys and the Boogaloo Bois, will become only irritants when their roles are no longer magnified by the media, even as they continue to cling to resentments, victim-hood and grievances.

        Hugh J. Curran is on the faculty of the Peace & Reconciliation Studies Program at the University of Maine.

        • Yeah, socially constructed racial identities have been key to maintaing elite rule. That has extended to American imperialism with brown-skinned foreigners being the primary target of aggressive militarism. But interestingly, this has has overlapped with the attack on white left-wingers who supported, defended, and aligned with minorities.

          That is the origin of the conpiracy theory about “cultural Marxism.” It’s idelogical ancestor is the anti-semtic conspiracy theory called “cultural Bolshevism” or “Jewish Bolshevism” used by the Nazis in their rise to power, as a way to eliminate the freedom of the press, academia, and the arts. The accusation was that the entire political left was part of the Jewish cabal, influenced by it, or else fellow travelers with it.

          This is closely related to American society, of course, as Nazism took inspiration from American eugenics and Jim Crow. It contnues to influence the power structure. More people, white and black, were arrested at the leftist BLM protests than were arrested at the mostly white and right-wing “Stop the Steal” protest that turned into an insurrection. One study found that police were more likely to use violence aganst left-wing protesters than right-wing protesters.

          So, it’s not only a divide between whites and minorities but also between the right kinds of whites and the wrong kind of whites. That is where I’d slightly disagree with the initial framing of the article. These white right-wingers most definitely have not, “up to the present, been possessed of majoritarian status.” Rather, they were possessed of the perception of a majoritarian identity, albeit a false identity.

          I’m not sure there has been a moment in history where most Americans were white right-wingers, but for damn sure such a claimed majoritarian status hasn’t existed in recent decades. Two of my recent blog posts were about PRRI survey data and Fox News poll data. You could also look at a long post I did on public opinion a decade ago that included data from the years and decades preceding it. What is clear is that most Americans have been left of the political and media elite for a long time and going further left.

          The change we are experiencing isn’t a recent shift in public opinion. Instead, these right-wingers have been sheltered in an echo chamber and protected by their privileges. They had a disproportionate influence in media and politics for so long that they didn’t realize they were such a small minority. But all of a sudden, they’ve been forced to realize they aren’t the moral majority, if they ever were. It scares them to find out that, even among whites and the religious, they are far on the radical right fringe.

          How this might relate to the deep state is complicated. Those who take advantage of this reactionary populism are mostly those at the edge of the deep state, not those well within it. The wannabe leaders of white authoritarian rule are those like Donald Trump and Steven Bannon. These are what some call counter-elites. They are extremely wealthy but their status is not well established.

          That is shown with Trump being the heir of a slumlord. Trump always wanted to be accepted by the elite in NYC, but he was treated as uncouth. That is often how older wealth treats new wealth. Even when elected, Trump wasn’t accepted. That is probably what pushed him futher and further into reactionary populism, to force the other elites to take him seriously.

          Bannon even more clearly fits the profile of the counter-elite. He was raised working class and made his way up into wealth. He worked in Hollywood movie production, on Wall Street, and then maneuvered himself into poltics. But even though he is smart and talented, he never fit in and had a hard time getting the status he thought he deserved. Look at how he still dresses and acts working class.

          Peter Turchin writes about this. He argues that counter-elites appear when there are more elites and aspiring elites than there are elite positions to be filled. Elitism isn’t only about wealth but, more importantly, power, privilege and prestige. Trump and Bannon may have gained the wealth, through talent or inheritance. What they still lack is all the rest and that is what has shaped them into counter-elites.

          Counter-elites have not been welcomed into the halls of power. Nor do they have full access to the crony and familial networks. They remain outsiders. They are close enough to the deep state to recognize it and to realize they are not a part of it. The threat to the deep state comes more from these counter-elites than it does from the dirty masses. When the counter-elites become demagogues they potentially might organize those dirty masses into movements, revolts, and coups.

          The deep state, however, is an entirely different creature. It will never present itself in such obvious forms, at least not obvious to the undiscerning eye. The deep state survives by not appearing like anything at all. It’s not the government, not the military, not any formal institutions — even as it can make use of all such things. It’s simply what happens behind the scenes, not the outward forms of politics as seen in the media. If anything, it’s those controlling the media that determine how the public perceives politics. Don’t look at where the camera is pointing but who is behind the camera.

  2. Groups, tribes, clans, nations, all share a great deal in common. The ruling elites don’t have to be in conscious collusion; they share so much in common which has evolved over generations of inter-marriage and shared educational aspirations, shared schools, shared political and military heroes and so on and on. Consider 400 years of British settler colonialism from Ireland to India where “white supremacy” became so ingrained and embedded that few questioned the absolute right to enslave millions, nor to place conquered people in servitude for the benefit of a small number of landed “gentry” (ie plantation owners or Anglo-Irish landlords whose loyalty was never to Ireland but to the Empire. This existed from the 1600s to the 1900s. The accepted churches (Anglican) educated the children to believe that the rights to dominate others was due to this supposedly highly-trained white elite. Until relatively recently (ie 1900) no one who did not fit into the privileged class could enter the higher echelons of educational establishments and when they graduated they were automatically bequeathed high social status and promoted to top positions in government and business. In the case of India, read Shashi Tharoor’s recent book: “Inglorious Empire” to understand how a small elite could control India; or read William Dalrymple’s book: “The Anarchy:..Pillage of an Empire”. There is no need to posit a “deep state”. Such a state becomes a common heritage because the system comes to believe in it and raises armies to defend these rights and privileges. Those who are duped into believing in the rights and privileges of a few designated leaders, end up perpetratin such nefarious deeds as attacking the Capitol Building, or form groups such as the Proud Boys, to defend the “heroes” who they think represents their interests. This is NOT true but such fictions are rife, especially when there is a strong powerful media owned by wealthy individuals, whose sole purpose is to promote this kind of mythology.

    • That is maybe where my use of “deep state” differs from that of others. I see it as a natural extension of old systems of elitism. Yet elitsm is fundamentally transfomed when it becomes international or transnational. It builds off of prior imperial structures but extends it so much further. It becomes much more extensive and hidden because of the vast networks that form around it. These networks are more loose and informal or, at the very least, unofficial. But the deep state would overlap with areas of traditional government and previously established systems of power, incorporating what came before but expanding upon it.

      It’s not like the old aristorcracy and monarchies that operated out in the open with clearly defined roles, rights, and responsibilities within the sociopolitical order. A global crony network, for example, can’t be easily seen. That is where one begins to suspect the nature of the deep state is inverted totalitarianism. If so the organizing principle underlying it is not the government of the nation-state but international mega-corporations and related organizations (think tanks, lobbyist groups, philanthrocapitalism, etc). Then one thinks about the large number of front groups and front corporations operated by the CIA and other intelligence agencies (is the CIA itself a front group posing as a national intelligence agency?), not to mention how organized crime has itself become international.

      Who are the ultimate masters of this deep state? That is anyone’s guess. The even more intriguing thought is maybe the deep state is so vast and amorphous that it isn’t even clear to those within it. It might be so all-encompassing that it’s simply taken as an ideological realism, especially for those born into it. It’s probably not a single entity but an overlapping set of relationships and common interests, primarily depending on global capitalism, although more than a common variety plutocracy/kleptocracy. How the deep state appears would depend on one’s perspective. That would even be true within the deep state, one’s particular address of affiliations.

      My suspicion is that someone like McConnel is simply a lackey of the deep state. He may not really understand what kind of power structure he serves. His understanding is not required for him to gain benefits in being part of it. That is why no conspiracy is required. No single person is able to see the entire deep state. It’s something that has emerged organically out of imperialist capitalism, a near inevitable result of the initial conditions of that ideological system. It’s grown slowly over generations, more of an emergent property than a planned organization. That isn’t to say there isn’t a cabal(s) involved, but they aren’t required.

    • Yep. I’m familiar with Johnstone. Over the years, I’ve occasionally read something by her. But I don’t follow her work closely.

      In general, I haven’t been following news closely as of late. This was done intentionally, as most of it is depressing and pointless.

      Curiosity did get the better of me with our present situation. The last couple of weeks, I started following the news again, just to sense which direction the winds are blowing.

    • Below are two of her recent pieces that are relevant. Several strategies are used to uphold the deep state. Americans are kept ignorant about the larger world. We become number and indifferent to oppression elsewhere, as infotainment distracts and lulls us asleep. Using that same propaganda apparatus of corporate media, the deep state maintains the mirage of democracy in the form of a banana republic with elections as political spectacle and with partisanship as divide-and-conquer. Meanwhile, the public doesn’t notice that the deep state is simultaneously attacking the ‘left’ and ‘right’ while proclaiming its own authoritarian rule as moderate ‘centrism’.

      “Americans only care about America while their rulers only care about the rest of the world. This is entirely by design.

      “Americans fixate on America while ignoring the rest of the world not because they are genetically prone to self-obsessed navel gazing, but because their attention is being constantly and deliberately manipulated away from the stage upon which their government is perpetrating monstrous acts.

      “The nationless alliance of plutocrats and government agencies who drive the US government’s foreign policy cannot have the common riff raff interfering in their affairs. Immense amounts of energy have gone into preventing the rise of an antiwar movement in the hub of the empire like the one which began shaking the earth in the sixties and seventies, with propaganda playing a leading role in this suppression. The US is far too important in the operation of the empire-like power alliance which sprawls across the earth to permit its inhabitants to interfere in its operations by using the power of their numbers to force their nation’s wealth and resources to be used at home. So propaganda is used to hold their attention inside America’s borders.”

      “And make no mistake, the imperial narrative managers most certainly do need the public’s consent for internet censorship. They don’t pour vast fortunes into manufacturing consent for evil agendas because it’s fun, they do it because they require the public’s consent. The empire’s inverted totalitarianism only holds together because they’re able to maintain the illusion of freedom and democracy; the iron-fisted silencing of wholesome political speech can only happen if the public has been paced into believing it’s a good thing. Every step of the tightening of the censorship noose is a part of this pacing, and if you consent to it, you’re helping them.”

    • To my mind, a deep state seems like just another way of saying inverted totalitarianism. As a banana republic, it’s clear that the ruling elite don’t serve US citizens but serve corporate and plutocratic interests. That is to say the representatives we see on media are only superficially elected by us. That political spectacle is a facade hiding true power. The question is who exactly are they serving.

      That is hard to know because most of it happens behind the scenes such as all the dark money slushing around DC and all the backroom deals made by powerbrokers. The real ruling elite are akin to the Koch brothers, Mercer family, and the Gates Foundation — not politicians like Mitch McConnell. Or think about Steven Bannon in his machinations not only as part of the Trump administration but also meddling in Brexit.

      • I saw this the other day. Good video that clearly demonstrates what Jeremy Johnson calls the “structure of feeling” beneath the gamut of political identifications to which people adhere. It’s this ‘structure of feeling” that propaganda taps into in order to weaponize it and/or inspire appropriate action when need be and — if not playing close attention — it’s probably difficult to tell which from which.

        We’re obviously more united on the nature of the crises we face and what might be done about them than we tend to think if we would only realize it.

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