Sunday, January 24, 2010

Tomgram: William Astore, Going Rogue in Combat Boots | TomDispatch

Tomgram: William Astore, Going Rogue in Combat Boots TomDispatch

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Cyberjournal dialog

This blog page is a place where cyberjournal and newslog subscribers can post their comments without needing to 'go through rkm' to get their ideas posted.

The comments so far are on the topic of people-oriented economic reform.

There is a conversation about global warming over on another blog:


Sunday, January 10, 2010


By Gordon Duff STAFF WRITER/Senior Editor

This week something unique happened. A rumor, traced down to the highest levels of government, alluded to American intelligence agencies being involved in the failed terrorist attack in Detroit. The rumor was short lived, quickly denied by everyone but was a clear message. Quasi-governmental forces now exist that are bridging the gap between "conspiracy theory" and a real "shadow government."

There have long been criticisms of the Federal Reserve System, the Military Industrial Complex and even the United Nations as threats against our soverignty. Now, a highly suspect terror threat being presented as an attempt by billions of Muslims to destroy the United States because if its support for Israel, now the 4th most powerful nation on earth miltarily is being sold to the American people to justify a decade now proving to be one of the most disasterous in our history. There is little real threat against Israel but a very real threat to America, a threat from within.

Many like to think the stage was set after 9/11, when a nation with worldwide support and sympathy awoke from slumber realizing it had become defenseless to the threat of a worldwide terrorst conspiracy through massive failures in intelligence coordination and miltiary capability. Yet, a week ago, we see an almost idential intelligence failure after, not only hundreds of billions of dollars spent, but the organization of a massive and utterly pervasive intelligence system whose impact may well be more domestic destabilization that protection from external threats. If one is to look at this hypothesis, then the groundwork has to be taken back, not just to our original Gulf War, but, perhaps even to the mindset we assumed upon the unexpected collapse of the Soviet Union.

One day we awakened, after years, half a century actually, of "us versus them" ideological struggle as the clear victors. In the process, the US government had quadrupled in size, become buried in debt and our own massive military spending had built the framework for our own "Central Committee" thru which we could begin to assume the reins of empire. This empire would, increasingly, parallel others through instituting "reforms" that would prove to be fatal to democracy.

Over the next two decades, the totalitarian processes of party loyalty that led to the decline and collapse of Russia would find fertile ground in the US as increasingly centralized wealth, the decline of the middle class and the dismantling of our domestic manufacturing base combined with the "moral flexibility" of our elected officials to create a less free, less just and, eventually, dysfunctional society proven, not only economically unviable but equally ungovernable.

The "bill of goods" sold Americans was a combination of racial fear and hate, class envy, regional distrust and a national addiction to continual military adventurism all fed thru "sound bites" and a mainstream media willing to be fed packaged news.

We quit noticing that our political process, the idea that an informed populace could choose candidates for national office based on character and qualification had simply disappeared.

Where are we now? We have created a series of institutions that serve no other purpose than to undermine our democratic form of government and manipulate or coerce government into policies that are economically disasterous and morally reprehensible.

What are these groups? First we created a Department of Homeland Security. Though largely staffed with dedicated professionals, key administrative positions are emplanted with "moles," political extremists capable of both misusing power and helping create threats, real or imagined, on demand. Are they doing this? Our unwillingness to investigate assures our inability to answer.

Imagine if Rudi Gulliani's "Golum," and convicted felon, Bernie Kerik, had been allowed to take over Homeland Security, an organization specifically designed and empowered to be managed by this political "bagman" and "dirty cop." Only a prison cell stood between Kerik and control of the most powerful police agency on earth.

The next most pitiful failure has been the CIA. Turned "lapdog" under George Tenet, it agreed to supply endless falsified intelligence in trade for the usual post retirement "revolving door" enrichment plan. Even worse, there has been a massive defection within the CIA to Blackwater/Xe leading to a privatization of capability and putting, not only intelligence gathering but "special ops" capabilities, meaning assassination, in the hands of the highest bidder. What had been operational failures and abuses in Iraq has now become something potentially much more threatening to national security.

The pride of the former "War on Terror" was JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command. This organization was intended to coordinate response capabilities around the world by ending duplication and coordinating with what was intended to be a greatly improved intelligence capability. In fact, just the opposite occurred. The United States created its own version of a publicly funded but not publicly controlled Murder Incorporated.

JSOC, rather than being a coordinated effort to defend America became an utterly unaccountable tool under the direct control of the notoriously unstable Vice President Dick Cheney, perhaps the most controversial person to hold that office since Aaron Burr. It always comes back to the same solutions, spying, rendition, torture, murder and no accountability.

The other major threat, a term that genuinely applies, to the democratic process in America is the political power of the US Army Central Command under General David Petraeus. Almost immediately after taking the reins, Petraeus began his involvement in the presidential election through manipulation of press releases meant to support candidate John McCain.

The combined influence of Central Command, the powerful oil and weapons lobby and the increasingly extremist position Israel has taken with their ultra-right wing government has created an environment of virtual tyranny within the decision making apparatus of the US government. With defacto corporate control of press and the elimination of "loyal" dissent during the Bush/Cheney "us or them" period of polarization, any genuine policy assessment based entirely on what is good for America and its people is forgotten.

As we have see, the deregulaton of the financial markets under Bush/Cheney led to an inevitable collapse, the reform mechanism for which is refilling the empty coffers of the corrupt and incompetent and refinancing their influence over the economy they destroyed. Even when wealth was centralized in the hands of an "unregulated few" they still couldn't hold onto it bringing about a bailout that will impoverish America's middle class for a century.

The health care debate debacle is a pure expression of this dynamic. The countries biggest failures spending public bail out money to convince America of their fitness to control our economy is something beyond irony. The end result of our disasterous historical epoch has been to deconstruct America. Is it possible to wave a flag so often as a distraction that patriotism is now automatically suspect?

How many Americans now talk about leaving the country? I hear it every day, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Canada, maybe just talk but these aren't just people from one political spectrum, it is a general dissatisfaction, even hopelessness from all sides. America is seen as "unfixable." What do we have in common with post-Soviet Yugoslavia? Could you go from state to state, region to region and find people who simply don't want to be a part of America anymore?