Why I voted Republican, my confession

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meljomur's picture

Yes, I did vote for ALL the Republicans on my absentee ballot for Washington State.  I thought about it, and my reason is because I want the inevitable to happen.  I think this election has been nothing short of a complete joke (and that is from my limited exposure living over here).  Obviously it was a completely symbolic vote, as I found out in the last election that overseas voters don't count unless your state is in some kind of toss up. 

But I feel this teetering on the brink is not good for America.  It needs to fall.  It needs to fall soon, and hard. The best way to facilitate this, is for there to be complete control of Congress by the Republicans.  I know it will cause gridlock and nothing will get passed.  But that means nothing will happen, and the descent will spiral.

Ravi Batra believes 2012, is the dawning of the New Golden Age for America.  Well that isn't going to happen until the bottom is reached first.



Gotitdone's picture
What about 1098? The

What about 1098?

The community here seems to reinforce each others fatalistic ideas. Things are not nearly as bad as they are made out to be. In my short 15 years or so of actually following current events I have noticed that the people tend to be unreasonably exuberant during good times and unreasonably pessimistic during down times.

You're right in suggesting that nothing but gridlock in the other Washington will happen with a divided government but you are wrong in suggesting nothing will happen. People will still work to improve their lot in life and collectivly that work will lead to economic growth.

Also Washington has a critical Senate race, I'm sure Dino will thank you. :)

makuck's picture
Mel, didn't you give your

Mel, didn't you give your "final farewell" a couple weeks ago?

After all your right wing bashing, on other threads, one would think you would not be pro-republican. But you left the country, and then vote republican! Obviously you are still an American citizen, so when you make broad generalizations about Americans, on other threads, you're talking about yourself too, just in case you didn't realize that. Just because you are currently in a different country, if you are an American citizen with voting rights you are still an American, just so you don't make that same embarrassing blunder again..

It doesn't matter if voting republican is to make a statement, in your case, it's hypocrisy. You have every right to contradict yourself, but that's all it is. The point of voting is to see how many people follow a specific cultural story, so that cultural story is enacted. The more people who are behind one story compared to the next the more likely it will be to be enacted. Not sure if you realized that. Why vote for a story (America) you have no plans of being a part of other to exert your control over others?

You WANT America to hit the bottom? You WANT to be part of the problem? What makes you different than the republicans you have denounced if you're voting like one, and voting the way THEY want you to vote? Is it so you can justify your reasons for leaving America, help America hit rock bottom, so you don't feel so bad when Britain is going through it's own right wing movement?

If you vote republican, as a statistic, as a voter, you are a republican.. not sure if you realized that.

First you leave your country, then attack your country in broad generalizations (in posts), then go back (in spirit) only to vote for the people in your country that you attacked in the first place, so the country you left fails, and then you give yourself a pat on the back in the very forum you declared your progressive greatness in! That is flaky as all heck! Talk about talking out of both sides of your mouth!

You want America to fail, and that just so happens to be republicans #1 talking point, filibuster everything so Obama fails, and America fails so Cons can take back power. You're singing the full-blow republican song and dance now, and you don't even realize it, that's the saddest part about it.

You think you are thinking outside of the box. You are thinking in the republican box pure and simple.

meljomur's picture
Yes, I do think American

Yes, I do think American politics has become a joke. 

All one has to do is look at the strongest voice of collective morons to come out of all this (backed by billionaires) and well, I just feel at this point, it's all over for the country till the fat lady sings.

I do have worries though.  I worry once the bottom is hit, the people in charge may decide another war is necessary to help stimulate the economy.  Of course as that war would be in the Middle East (and most likely with Iran), it would also cause the price of oil to balloon, which again would have a VERY negative impact on the nation.

What is going on with America is NOT working.  I do believe Obama is a politician who wants to support the public.  I don't think his allegiance is to the big corporation, but I do think that the political system in the US is so convoluted that the President does NOT have the power to take on corporate America.  The POTUS is there to make life easier for them.

But there is another problem.  The strength of multi-corporations is not enough in America.  They aren't helping the economy.  Most of them outsource much of their jobs.  Working for minimum wage at Walmart or Target is hardly going allow people to make ends meet.

Perhaps I have read too much Chris Hedges on this board (although he certainly isn't the only one to acknowledge the US is at the point of no return).  But for me its much harder to watch the alcoholic country still inebriated and unwilling to get help.  It's time to hit the bottom, that is when one can then rebuild itself in a better, healthier manner.

It's really very sad.

PS.  Dino Rossi is a moron. But then again why not let the Tea Party see what it's like to have these people in power.

makuck's picture
If politics in America is a

If politics in America is a joke, you're part of that joke by voting against "your" supposed own best interest.

So who is the strongest voice of the collective morons? Can you identify that? Name one republican voice that is currently stronger than Obama. Statistically, still, no one can fund raise better than him, and you speak favorably of him.

So you worry once bottom is hit we might decide we need another war, and at the same time you want us to hit bottom? Yet you are against war? It's really hard to follow your train of thought.

POTUS is corrupt in the US so the president can't take on corporate power? Maybe kings in Britain can do that.. oh wait, they are corporate shills born into a 30mil per year paycheck via taxes they impose, wealth by blood. Obama wasn't elected king, people have to vote in senate and house seats as well. Congress could elect to end the filibuster.. or we could vote in a super majority. Whatever you're doing isn't going towards either of those options, it's going away from them.

I never heard of Chris Hedges. The US isn't at the point of no return. The world as a whole maybe is though. If anything, currently the USD is the monetary standard of the world. That means when we print money, instead of inflating only our own currency, it will inflate world currency. So we can essentially create money out of thin air.. currently it's at 20 billion month. Obviously not a sustainable approach.

If you dislike corporate republicans, petitioning and rallying against corporations would probably be a better solution to voting republican across the board on your ballot. You might actually see some positive results if you did that. For example Boulder, CO blocked Walmart from building in their city via a citizens initiative. Or you can just fall in line and march in lock step with the same people you claim to oppose, which is what you have done..

And that's what's sad.

PeeWee Returns
PeeWee Returns's picture
I, for one, admire your

I, for one, admire your profoundly dumb gesture.

Well, call it euthanasia. A

Well, call it euthanasia. A quick death rather than a drawn out painful one.

Tweedle Dum may slow the course, Tweedle Dum may speed it up. The final results are the same. Whether it's a merging of  economic and environmental collapse under the Dems or Repugnants really doesn't matter, does it?

People prefer hoping things are fine and will be fixed  rather than facing reality.The ice sheets aren't melting, the oceans aren't dying, the dead mountainsides of Colo. are an illusion, the planet produces oil faster than we pump it and the Great Recession  ended nearly a year ago.  

"If any problems do develop, it will happen after I'm dead"....that's the greatest false hope of all.  In the meantime, environmental collapse accelerates annually with agricultural collapse on its heels..

The structures themselves contradict any viable solutions. I don't see either party calling for structural change. They're both attempting to patch a blown tire with bubble gum rather than changing the tire.

 Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".


DRC's picture
PeeWee would, but it is more

PeeWee would, but it is more than dumb, Mel.  You get to live in England and do not have to suffer the Republicans taking over Washington State.  I have relatives and friends there, and you have done them wrong.  I also have to live with GOP Senators and Representatives when idiots act out, and that is the polite form of description for your stupidity.

You have acted with a narcissistic indulgence that has no positive explanation.  Had you voted Green or not voted, it would have been either good or understandable.  To vote for the goons is too cynical and self-hating to accept.

As you can see, I am more than disappointed in your actions.  I am offended because you have posted enough intelligent analysis and insight for me to expect sanity and even wisdom from you.  I hear PeeWee and some others defend what I find stupid to the point of idiocy, but they have demonstrated that they believe in this crap.  To vote for crap is to crap on the rest of us.


DRC wrote: To vote for crap

DRC wrote: To vote for crap is to crap on the rest of us

poly replies: Precisely why I didn't vote for McCain or Obama. I'm stuck with a continuation of Bush II policies, Clinton policies, Bush I policies and Reagan's policies..Stuck with more neo-liberal  crap and an accelerating economic/environmental meltdown. Who do I thank for that?

Were Obama's responses at Copenhagen any different than Bush's would have been?  I think not. Expand a war to Pakistan, re-activate the 4th Fleet, land marines in Costa Rica and get a Peace Prize. Whoopie! Bush was cheated out of his due...a Peace Prize as well. for the invasion of Iraq going by that criteria.

I don't agree with the way Mel voted, and  I understand it. Whether things hit the pits later under the Dems or sooner under the Repugnants doesn't change the final outcome. Sooner or later, we'll have to go through it. Maybe hitting bottom sooner and getting it done will provide an impetus for sooner change.

However, if there is a non-corporatist running in Washington, it would have been better to vote for them than not. I'd consider that a rarity in today's political climate. I'm not that familiar with the state's candidates.

The last Dem candidate I supported for the presidency was Jesse Jackson. After that, it became just another wing of the Corporate Party just as the Labor party in the U.K. became a twin of Britain's conservative faction. Representatives of corporate interests..

I would have voted for Dem Kucinich. The corporate media quickly vetted him out of contention. He disappeared.

Party labels at this point mean nothing.. It boils down to the individual candidate..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"


upperrnaz12348's picture
As an ex-Patriate American

As an ex-Patriate American living in one of the more interesting places in the Middle East aka Israel, perhaps I might have an reason to be involved in the way the US formulates its policies in the country where I live with dual citizenship.  Yes, guys, I have a stake in what goes on here, because I vote here, for what you might consider the strangest parties you have ever heard, and for even more odd reasons.

The more I read about the meanderings of US politics, the less I understand, and the happier I am am that I don't have to ponder those decisions at a polling place in the States.  First off, our economy, in spite of the war games that go on every once and a while is fairly stable.  Indeed, the press talks about our billionaires controlling the way policies are enacted. 

The closest thing to what you would call the NYT, or the Washington Post is virulently anti-Clerical and Leftist, as the government usually does what it pleases with the result that the Prez of the Bank of Israel gets good marks from "the rest of the world" for maintaining a solid banking system.  Israel does have serious issues relating to outsourcing, unemployment, and other issues that vex the US, but somehow you don't "sense" it in the streets on account of the social policies that were put in place in the early days of the State. 

That doesn't mean there are no inequalities here, or issues with its Arab Palestinians citizens, but  . . .  things seem to work here that have fallen apart in the States so badly.  Other than that I am a Believer who comes here with notion that  . . . and at this point I leave the discussion before the agnostics and Free Thinkers start throwing their darts and arrows!

DRC's picture
I am not just going to echo

I am not just going to echo NL, and if I failed to express any empathy for the suffers of duopoly, believe me I understand.  I just don't think it is a good reason for constant whining or for self-defeating acting out.  I will choose delaying the disaster instead of bringing it on because it gives us time to organize and prepare to care for the people who are going to need to have something to belong to and hang on to in the storm.  

If we don't help them, the manipulators and cult leaders will.  I think the longer time frame gives us a better chance to help others and ourselves imagine and think about what comes after.   While we are in grief about the loss of our dreams, we are not at our best.  Same for others.  Making hope more than a slogan or brand is part of our challenge.

My big problem with Mel taking a crap in our electoral punchbowl is that she barely has to suffer from it if at all.  Those who can survive another GOP regime without losing their homes or other catastrophe may think they can afford a cynical bitch slap to their disappointing friends even if it lets the goons back in the game.  Letting others suffer for your petulance is sick.

Poly, your duopoly talk is becoming an ideological refusal to deal with nuance or ambiguity in our historical and political processes.  There are enough good reasons to want Obama over the unrepentant GOP to make your blanket analysis superficial.  It is also sounding more like your depression than your intelligence speaking.

DRC, If you can find a

DRC, If you can find a non-corporatist candidate to vote for, do that. If not, then  party labels mean nothing. Even the neo-fascist Gov. Wallace of Alabama carried the Dem label. His actions were broadcast on nationwide TV, to the horror of those living outside of the south.. Would you have voted for him because he had a "D" after his name?

I work within the Dem Party on the behalf of non-corporatist candidates and usually end up voting third party. Two people, myself and another just can't carry the vote to change the precinct..It takes many precincts to change a county, a majority of precincts in counties to change the state, precincts in  the majority of states to change the party nationally. I don't see that happening..

In most precincts, it would take 1/2 dozen people to capture the Dem Party. No one shows up. to do that. "Progressives" need a reality check..

I voted for change in the Pres. elections, not more of the same. My candidate lost. I have more of the same.with a wee bit of sugar.

And what would Hillary have been? Her outrage at the latest Wikileaks wasn't that the U.S. was aiding and abetting crimes against humanity. The outrage was because it was brought to light. Wouldn't  the Bush outrage have been the same...outrage at exposure?

Obama is no FDR. He governs to the right of Rep. Pres. Eisenhower...to the right of even Nixon!  He's a neo-liberal, corporatist twit with liberal rhetoric. He speaks one way and acts another. We've gotten exactly what I said we'd get before his election...a continuation of Bush policies. with a wee bit of sugar.

The Patriot remains intact (a carbon copy of the German Enabling Act giving Hitler legal power), outsourcing is ongoing, trickle down fools are appointed to the helm of economic policy, wars are on-going, the 4th Fleet has been re-activated,,a $500 billion subsidy to health ins. corporations is called reform, he sabotoged Copenhagen, he went to court to maintain renditions to Abu Graib (a violation of the Geneva Accords).. Whoopie! Change that isn't. Flowery rhetoric changes nothing.

His Deficit Reduction Commissiion has members dedicated to dismantling Soc. Sec. and other social programs. He didn't appoint liberal thinkers to it. He appointed neo-liberal fools.

The substantial differences remain who can marry who. Dysfunctional structures are sacrosanct..If you can find a non-corporatist candidate, vote for them. If you can't, then party labels are just as  meaningless as they were in the apartheid south. Just perhaps a slower decline to the same  end. within a fairly short time frame.

If you don't bail a boat faster than water pours into it, it will sink.The left had best begin using buckets rather than dainty tea cups.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease".. 



Choco's picture
Things seem so bad now

Things seem so bad now because some have lost the perspective of history.  The Cathars of Southern France suffered constant terror and seige for the simple reason that they were pious Christians, most likely of the Gnostic sect of knowledge seekers. They fought the Crusaders and Catholic Church for over 30 years until they were annihilated. The Jews were persecuted from the beginnings of history and were slaughtered like cattle less than 70 years ago, Some still don't believe it happened. The American Native Indians were slaughtered, their buffalo were slaughtered, their homes and entire way of life were destroyed by greedy murderous white people wanting to own private property and to push the rails through. The Inquisition lasted 605 years, and this was institutionalized terrorism. The great leaders of history were mostly murderous megalomaniacs. The MO is the same, vilify those you want out of the way and send in the ignorant, violent and fearful to do the dirty work.

We are living in evil times for sure, but it's nothing the world hasn't seen before. I think evil has flourished as of late because the United States and Britian have many unresolved murderous wars, executions and other contrived socially traumatizing events that are being officially covered up or simply not investigated. The majority of the population knows this and has lost faith in our institutions, be they, corporate, govt. or religious.

If one looks back through time one can see progress of human rights. It looks like we are regressing in that regard right now so recognizing this is part of the process of overcoming this evil. Those of us who are paying attention have to continue to inform those who are not paying attention what's at stake. We can't give up and we shouldn't attack our friends.

makuck's picture
Look at how many laws Ralph

Look at how many laws Ralph Nader put into act simply by lobbying as a single individual in no elected position.

For most of his life he lived fairly poor in a 1 bedroom place, either donating or spending his money on political initiatives. It's not like he came from a billionaire family. He was just INVOLVED from a young age.

And there are GREAT progressives in the senate and congress, that are totally for the people and anti-corporation. Sanders and Grayson for example.

These are some of the people who brought progressive ideals into the 21s century main stream. They are out numbered but they are there, and if none of them are giving up or throwing in the towel, what gives us the right to do that? How many of you have children in the USA? I do, I'm NEVER giving up.

Obama isn't king. Corporations aren't king.. yet. IF they DO become king though, they won't ever let us out of the death grip without a revolution (peaceful hopefully). We need to take what we can get for now, the lesser of two evils, and keep trying to build a movement. If the movement slows down, maintain what we have, wait a bit and build it back up.

Why be an apologist for a democrat who votes republican though? Why should a progressive call someone who votes republican a friend? What makes that different than being an apologist for Obama letting republican ideas into policy?

We should push progressive ideas while voting for the most progressive candidate, that's what primaries are for, there are citizen based initiatives to get 3rd party candidates on the ballot, how do you think Ralph Nader got all the way to the presidential election?

Bah screw it, lets just all sit around and fail together because life sucks and the world is doomed? That kind of thinking goes beyond politics in my opinion..

If we do hit rock bottom what do you think would actually happen? Rock bottom: state and corporate interests have merged. There is no longer elections. Instead the CEO of the largest corporation is sent to the senate. The president is the CEO of the largest company. Corporations have the power of the military under their command, including strike drones. The private for profit corporation Black-water carries out secret internal assassinations of dissenters, or possible dissenters.. if the price is right. There is a Guantanamo for dissenters that aren't assassinated. It's called fascism and it's happened before, thankfully not in our country. Is that the point we need to reach to convince some of us to give a crap?

Natural Lefty
Natural Lefty's picture
I understand your reasoning,

I understand your reasoning, Mel. It falls under what I call, Be Careful What You Wish For, Conservatives, and I just mentioned it on my new blog post. Nonetheless, I think you made a mistake. When I don't want to vote for a Democrat, I vote for a third party progressive, usually a Green Party member. I think we  sometimes talk ourselves into thinking things are really dire when all we need to do is get together, come up with a good plan, and start implementing it. I have a friend on Facebook who is convinced that the Rothschild family virtually owns the entire world. (I had never even heard of them before he started talking about them. Apparently they are a rich jewish banking family that lives in England.) Most recently, he said that they put a number on every person's birth certificate that indicates their ownership of us. Obviously, that is pretty whacky, and the Roithschild's cannot tell me what to do, think or feel. I don't think they even know who I am. I don't know where he comes up with this stuff, but people let themselves be talked into thinking stuff that isn't really true.

I even find Polycarp's political cynicism disturbing. There are clear differences between political parties. There was a group on Facebook I was in that was far left, and they hated Obama. I finally gave them a piece of my mind and was unfriended by its leader. On the other hand, there are many groups on Facebook which are actively promoting progressive candidates and urging people to go out and vote for them. That sure beats the negativity I see here. I mention Facebook, Mel, because I remember you saying you go on Facebook. There is a huge progressive community there. My friend from this site Dissident Priest got me to join Facebook over a year ago.

Frankly, I suspect the Republicans will be hit by a "surprise left" in this election, unless people such as you and Polycarp manage to suppress the vote of the majority who want this culture to move forward. I know that things are going very Democratic here in California. Thom just had the Democrat who is running against that miscreant Calvert in my hometown district covering Riverside, CA and neighboring communities, and it looks like the Democrat is going to unseat 9 term congressman Calvert. Maybe we can get rid of Sonny Bono's widow in the district I now live in, while we're at it. One way or another, I believe that America eventually will move in a truly progressive direction, but meanwhile, we have suffered enough already. Why prolong our suffering by letting conservatives control America's agenda again?

Nope. We don't have to reach

Nope. We don't have to reach the point of overt fascism...and might..

Hold you nose and vote for the lesser of two evils. When possible, vote for a non-corporatist.. Work at the precinct level within the Dem Party for change. Be involved in the candidate selection process rather than just rubber-stamping one of the presented candidates. on a primary ballot.. That's what I do.

I also, however, prepare for the possibility that it may not be enough.

I don't agree with Mel's vote...and do understand why she voted that way..

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

makuck's picture


Natural Lefty
Natural Lefty's picture
Polycarp, I understand why

Polycarp, I understand why Mel voted the way she did too, but also disagree with it as I stated. I understand and agree with you about voting for noncorporatists too, even if they come from "other parties" and "don't have a chance of winning." We have to start change somewhere, by getting involved in politics and working for progressive change.

It is only when you start talking about tweedledum and tweedledee (some Nader terminology as I recall) and how Obama is on the political right that I get discouraged. I think the only reason Obama is governing so far to the right, or at least the main reason, is because he is up against an entrenched corporatocracy, and they are pulling him harder to the right than we on the left are pulling him to the left. We need to pull harder, not give up. FDR never would have been a progressive President had the times and the public not demanded it.

meljomur's picture
Well I also happen to believe

Well I also happen to believe (after studying some past election cycles) that by having a Republican Congress, it almost ensures Obama will be re-elected in 2 years.

Personally, (after reading both his books) I do feel he does have quite a progressive streak in him.  But more importantly, I believe he genuinely cares about his fellow man/woman.

I think this election outcome, will cause gridlock.  Perhaps the Republicans will shut down Congress (as they have threatened).  But I have to believe enough people will see that these actions will make things worse, not better. 

When I was in the states last month (Minnesota), I noticed ALOT of highway repair going on (on behalf of the the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009).  Infrastructure which had not been repaired for decades (anyone remember the bridge collapse in the Twin Cities a few years ago?) was being fixed.  I understand these kinds of projects don't happen under Republican administrations.  I know they don't spend money on domestic infrastructure, as NO Republicans voted for this Act in the House and ONLY 3 supported it in the Senate.

I am not happy with the direction the nation is going.  I guess I do see it as having to get worse before it gets better.  But I do agree with you Natural Lefty, in the end I know it will end up moving in a more progressive manner (unless Chris Hedges is correct, than we are all screwed). 

Republican governments don't care about the people of the country.  (And I suspect there are many Dems. where this applies as well).  They think government is the problem and that all social and economic ills of the nation are better remedied through the private sector.  So they get into to government to make it look and act worse. All the while they continue pointing the finger and saying, 'look, look government is the PROBLEM.'

Like I stated above, my vote was largely symbolic (as overseas votes don't count unless there is a tie in your state, and if there is and Dino Rossi wins...I promise to donate some money to the Seattle school district).  Obviously I didn't have to confess to how I voted here.  However, I did want to have the discussion on this board.  I do appreciate the various responses.

 PS.  I am sorry DRC. 

makuck's picture
FDR had crowds roaring for

FDR had crowds roaring for 30mins straight when he attacked mega corporations.

Obama has crowds booing after an ultra toned-down attack on mega corporations. Which is all he can do since his base isn't behind him. But then Obama's base becomes more disenchanted the further right he leans, which lessons the chance his base will get back on board, a self defeating downward spiral from both ends. That's how it seems to me.

FDR also had a much worse economic climate which probably fueled peoples emotions to become active. At first when he entered office I believe he wanted to be more of a centrist, but then aids told him he had about a year before a full scale unquenchable open revolt if something drastic wasn't done. The people were demanding it. And when they got behind him and he listened they loved him for it. There's a reason he was voted in for 3 terms, and probably would have been voted in for a 4th if he hadn't died.

Obama has an outstanding gift

Obama has an outstanding gift of oratory. He hought to use it. While it may have been the threat of violence that pushed FDR towards reform, it was his talking to the American people that got them behind him..

He just laid it on the line.

 QUOTE: Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply.

Primarily, this is because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence, have admitted their failure, and have abdicated. Practices of the unscrupulous money changers stand indicted in the court of public opinion, rejected by the hearts and minds of men.

True, they have tried. But their efforts have been cast in the pattern of an outworn tradition. Faced by failure of credit, they have proposed only the lending of more money. Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They only know the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

Yes, the money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of that restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Happiness lies not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort. The joy, the moral stimulation of work no longer must be forgotten in the mad chase of evanescent profits. These dark days, my friends, will be worth all they cost us if they teach us that our true destiny is not to be ministered unto but to minister to ourselves, to our fellow men.

Recognition of that falsity of material wealth as the standard of success goes hand in hand with the abandonment of the false belief that public office and high political position are to be valued only by the standards of pride of place and personal profit; and there must be an end to a conduct in banking and in business which too often has given to a sacred trust the likeness of callous and selfish wrongdoing. Small wonder that confidence languishes, for it thrives only on honesty, on honor, on the sacredness of obligations, on faithful protection, and on unselfish performance; without them it cannot live.

And finally, in our progress towards a resumption of work, we require two safeguards against a return of the evils of the old order. There must be a strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments. There must be an end to speculation with other people's money. And there must be provision for an adequate but sound currency. - FDR, 1st Inaugural Address. Full text:


FDR led people to support him with a push towards reform. He didn't wait for them to get behind him.

Obama is a neo-liberal twit. His head of economic policy is Bush's head of economic policy. Bernanke. No one twisted his arm to re-appoint the fool.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Gotitdone's picture
FDR, 1st Inaugural

FDR, 1st Inaugural Address

How many years of misery followed this speech? He passed his anti-business bills, raised taxes and years of stagnation followed. Never before and never since has an economic downturn been so lasting. Why?

Choco's picture
polycarp2 wrote:  His head of

polycarp2 wrote:

 His head of economic policy is Bush's head of economic policy. Bernanke. No one twisted his arm to re-appoint the fool.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

I guess this is where you and I disagree. I think the presidents' agenda is set for them by the entrenched globalist billionaires who've been running England and the US from the outset. Rothschild had more than a little hand in the Civil War. The formation of the Federal Reserve was the Union's death knell. Money controls govt. Obama is just the guy in the White House when the system collapsed.

In the Peewee Herman movie, Peewee drives the car off the cliff and the other guy is sleeping in the seat beside him. As the car is plunging through the air, Peewee, in his panic, wakes the guy up so he can share in the terror. Bush is Peewee and Obama is the guy sleeping next to him. Bush drove the country off a cliff and Obama has very little influence as to where it lands.

The insanity is that few recognize that politics and politicians are the front men for a nice show of democracy. It's only a show, the politicians are lightening rods so that the real controllers don't get noticed. The policy is formed in the think tanks of the CFR, Trilateral Commission, the Heritage Club, the various European Round Tables the boardrooms of the international banks, the Federal Reserve, the International Bank of Settlements (The Federal Reserve of the Federal Reserve in Basel, Switzerland) etc.

So Poly, Obama did not select Bernanke, Bernanke and his ilk selected Obama. People who are expecting a president to actually come to the rescue of working people and take on the entrenched money have short memories and forget about Kennedy, King and Kennedy. Ever since then presidents have towed the line. Think about the 2004 election, Skull and Bones GW Bush vs. Skull and Bones John Kerry.

Simple.The monetary system

Simple.The monetary system collapsed. The money supply shrank. Unless there is continual credit expansion, the money supply disappears.The counter-measure under our structures is continual government stimulous. When stimulous was withdrawn, we had the recession of 1936.

World War II finally re-set the economy. Forced savings through rationing released huge sums into the money supply after the war. That combined with rapid expansion of credit under the G.I. Bill enabled the economy to re-set.

We are at that point again.The money supply shrank 6% last year and 9% in the first quarter of this year. Welcome to the replay.

It's a systemic problem inherent in our monetary system.Rather than giving you another long explanation that you can't seem to get,  tune in to a video: Even my 12-year old grand neice got it.


Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"


DRC's picture
Very well described, ren.  

Very well described, ren.   This is an excellent explanation of why Poly has little interest in the incremental and keeps pushing us away from duopoly game tactics.  My problem with it is that I think the both/and is still a better political strategy than a total condemnation and abandonment of politics that will save lives and reduce the suffering of some of our neighbors.

If we could get the Green alternative to Corporate, it would be great.  I want people working on that alternative, but I don't pretend that it is ready to do anything to the GOPimps.  This means we reduce the damage with the Dems.

I think we can organize and build the movement for change better if we are not in the middle of a total disaster and utter chaos.  Like the mammals who had to avoid the dinos, we are the future but we have to avoid getting stepped on in the dino panic.

sarapolly's picture
You begin believing while

You begin believing while following author's thoughts, like while hearing a nuisance TV ad's 'If b u y  m e r i d i a and Your body so Slim'. I believe 1098 the ugly right thing: whenever you are, you are just a human

.ren's picture
Sorry, DRC, I was editing in

Sorry, DRC, I was editing in some addition stuff that Chris Hedges said when you posted.  As you must be aware, if we edit and someone posts in the meantime answering our post, it puts the order out of synch.

Choco, I think poly understands we are under an oligarchy, a corporatocracy, a polyarchy or some such.  What's difficult is to determine and articulate with any high degree of precision is exactly how the structure of decision making takes place, or if it's actually more a matter of Wolin's inverted totalitarianism, where the structure of the system sort of self manages, and of course the structure produces a leadership through its corporate controlled media that stays well within the guidelines that keep a neoliberal philosophy in the forefront as the only choices for the population when they go to the poles. 

All those names you mentioned, the Trilateral commission and all, they undoubtedly fit into the power structure, and they keep tabs on it.  Zbignew Brezinski, for instance, was on the Trilateral commission in the early 70's, and he more or less formulated the final Doctrine that represents the culmination of the weak Presidency we remember as Carter's (both Ford's and Carter's were "weak" presidencies as a result of the actions of Nixon that resulted in a genuine effort to impeach a President for Constitutionally criminal wrongdoing, and for a brief time, the balances of power formula actually worked.  They have been pretty much decimated now, and we have the resurgence of a strong presidency, with the outspoken legal maneuver of the Unitary Executive Theory leading the way towards an ever stronger POTUS in our government).  As I pointed out back on some threads, where I tried to look at the advisers in the different campaigns as a way of gauging the direction a Presidency might take during the 2008 election, Brezinski was one of Obama's early consultants in his run for the Democratic candidacy.  There was plenty of evidence to understand the limits of controls already set on Obama's message of "progressive" hope.  Getting into the job calls for a lot of financial support.  Anyone in the game knows where that support comes from, and how it has to be enlisted.  Names of advisers are symbolic messages to those with control of the money.

Today, Carter, after serving to help set the Doctrinal policies for our current Middle East geopolitical policies, following this nation's own Peak Oil wake up call in the early Seventies -- an event that put us on the edge of making a decision: develop self sustaining solar based economy or stay with the finite fossil fuel -- and then enabling through what was made to appear as weakness and fumbling the foisting of full fledged and open neoliberalism upon the nation through Reagan, rattles around the world as a humanitarian, much as Al Gore rattles around as a gesture towards environmentalism, but all these efforts are far from radical, and they get coverage in the corporate owned media only to the extent they are not threatening.  

But as managers of a managed "democracy" these power brokers behind the scenes that you mentioned do not need to do much in the way of hands on decision making.  They merely need to keep the system in place and functioning, because the system is more or less self managing.  We have to confront their system, not the power brokers.

I think the point that the quote you chose from poly's post illustrates that, yes, Obama is allowed to play President, and  his oratorical gifts,  his supposed streak of progressivism in his books that mel read, are not particularly threatening to the larger purpose of the system.  People who are threatening have long since been silenced by the system.  "Independent journalism" is an oxymoron from the corporate media.  As insightful as people like Chomsky, or now the rising voice of Chris Hedges, might be, they are virtually quite harmless as long as there is a corporate media that is systematic in its own functions.  It's systematic in that it follows the marketing pattern, and the marketing pattern is the key fundamental of inverted totalitarianism.

Inverted Totalitariansm -- Chris Hedges speaks on the Death of the Liberal Class

We have created, in the words of the great political philosopher, Sheldon Wolin, a system of inverted totalitarianism.  Inverted totalitarianism is different, he writes, from classical totalitarianism, it doesn't find its expression in a demagogue or a charismatic leader, but in the anonymity of the corporate state.  In inverted totalitarianism, you have corporate systems that purport to pay loyalty and fealty to the Constitution and electoral politics, and the language and iconography of American patriotism, and nationalism, but have so corrupted the levers of power as to render the citizens impotent.  What we have undergone is a coup d'etat in slow motion.  They have won, an we have lost

and this is the key formula for inverted totalitarianism, this will explain so much of the Republican and much Democratic Party brand of politics we see all around us:

In inverted totalitarianism, economics trumps politics.

Essentially, the economic system trumps the balancing power of any populist politics.  The brand of populism that's funded and ideologically fed by the Rupert Murdocks and the libertarian Koch Bros is a true astro turf politics, because it is generated out of that economic system, not the need to balance the power of those who own and control the corporate economic system.  People who feel alienated from the political system, because they truly are alienated, they have no voice, join the Tea Party because it speaks as if it empowers them.  But structurally, it does not.


What used to be a left and balancing wing of the right wing of radicals, who speak out against the establishment and provide the working class who are always under the threat of domination of systems of power, is now a cowed group of commodified intellectuals whose most visual represetatives sometimes speak on Sunday morning talk shows and are allowed to approach the margin of dissent, occasionally, and these are the intellectual elite who are rightfully reviled by the working class of this nation, because they no longer speak for them, nor provide them with the language that will speak truth to power and balance the weight of power in government that is now turning this nation upside down, and creating a powerlessness in the population that is, de facto, the powerlessness of totalitarianism. 

But you will not see true and radical disagreement in the corporate system, that now includes the commodified fourth estate, with the workings of the managed system that's now so deeply entrenched.  Anyone who truly is dangerous (like a Martin Luther Kink) will be eliminated.  I don't know how dangerous Kennedy was, I'm still not clear about that one.

I think poly sees this.

.ren's picture
sarapolly wrote:You begin

sarapolly wrote:
You begin believing while following author's thoughts, like while hearing a nuisance TV ad's 'If b u y  m e r i d i a and Your body so Slim'. I believe 1098 the ugly right thing: whenever you are, you are just a human

So that's how critical thinking works.  Huh.  Always wondered.  Too bad they don't teach it in school.

DRC's picture
To teach critical thinking,

To teach critical thinking, you would have to begin by honoring the curiosity and narrative of the learner.  When education becomes a curriculum of what one will need later on to "succeed," the material becomes the narrative and learning becomes dutiful discipline to please the adult authority.  Learning what is taught instead of questioning is how one gets good grades and the ability to get into the schools that will get you the good job and income.

This is why I think the drop-outs are the brightest and best while those who "succeed" tend to be conformed to their depersonalized careers and economic status identities.  Of course, the drop outs also include some very lazy people who were bright enough to reject "schooling" even if they were not smart enough to become critical questioners instead of stoned absentees.

.ren's picture
It's always been interesting

It's always been interesting to me that the structure of the education system -- grading, metering meritocracy, sorting out the "successful" from the less so -- virtually flies in the face of critical thinking.  It's like the strict parent who kills the "no!" when it first emerges in the two year old.  The "terrible two's" no is possibly a deeply embedded instinct in humans, one that helps move the baby forward on its journey towards self actuated adulthood, because it appears spontaneously across cultures, so it's interesting to observe cross culturally how different cultures treat their two year olds. 

I think that a similar treatment comes across implicitly in the "teaching" of critical thinking in school when students are embedded in an authoritarian system that uses grading, evaluation as a form of killing the spontenaity of disagreement.  "No!"" is the first toddling step in curiosity, and towards building one's own narrative.  Something about having to please the authority that grades your efforts seems implicitly inhibitive of encouraging the necessary step of disagreement that goes with being critical of ideas.

Seems to me that what you are

Seems to me that what you are describing as critical thinking is more like what Jung called individuation.  Certainly George Will is capable of critical thinking, as was , say, Ayn Rand, but their thinking might take them to different conclusions than say,  you or me.  I think what you are describing has more to do with insight.  Insight, intuition, wisdom - there are byproducts of individuation.  Jung described individuation as vocation, lit. vocatus -to be called, as with a voice, out of the herd to walk one's own path.  As we used to say in the 60's - to "do your own thing."   

I am totally with you on your take on the educational system - we "unschooled" our 2 kids - two wonderful human beings.

DRC's picture
I think George Will is a

I think George Will is a perfect example of an uncritical thinking ideologue, and a fairly shallow one at that.  He and Dinesh D'Souza are incredibly over-rated as "thinkers."  Propagandists and ideological cranks is what I find both to be.  The days of Bill Buckley and Russell Kirk are long gone.

It is not the difference in conclusions that I criticize, it is the assertion of opinion as if it were fact and the ridiculous mischaracterization of the other side that both exhibit.  Will is convinced that money is a First Amendment issue. and he plays that one note tune whenever campaign finance reform is raised.  It is a ridiculous assertion even if it is the official dogma of the Supremes.  He is one of the official speak power to truth court prophets.

D'Souza's latest piece of intellectual garbage attempts to "explain" 'Obama's Rage.'  What rage?  Obama is the coolest and most patient of men, and while my side might like to watch Obama go off with rage, he is far more effective using competence and calm than he would be acting out for our entertainment.  But, after raising this bogus issue of "rage," Dinesh baby pins it on his African tribal roots.  Really.  Obama was raised by a White mother on food stamps in America, and had very brief contact with his father.  But that is what has shaped this "not one of us" President in the shallow mind, but very creative fantasy life of a twit.

If you encourage critical thinking at home, you can overcome the schooling system.  If you work with the teachers, you often find educators who are also frustrated by the curriculum and structure.  They can help reward questioning and imagination instead of the fill in the blanks from the book testing.

DRC's picture
Mel, had you not shown me who

Mel, had you not shown me who you really are I would have been far less disappointed by the acting out.  You have a pass from me on this one.  Thanks for the acknowledgement.  

.ren's picture
dhavid wrote: Seems to me

dhavid wrote:

Seems to me that what you are describing as critical thinking is more like what Jung called individuation.  Certainly George Will is capable of critical thinking, as was , say, Ayn Rand, but their thinking might take them to different conclusions than say,  you or me.  I think what you are describing has more to do with insight.  Insight, intuition, wisdom - there are byproducts of individuation.  Jung described individuation as vocation, lit. vocatus -to be called, as with a voice, out of the herd to walk one's own path.  As we used to say in the 60's - to "do your own thing."   

I am totally with you on your take on the educational system - we "unschooled" our 2 kids - two wonderful human beings.

I'm something of a Jungian myself.

I don't hold much with the term "critical thinking."  It's just a starting point for discussion.  We home schooled my niece for much the same reasons you "unschooled" your two kids, I imagine.  Unschooling from parents and being truly nurturant for their kids while they are being ground up by the mass production of authoritarianism we call our education system can surely not hurt. The kids can then move through the system and not have to go off and eat the nuts and the berries for survival.  After all survival within the system is still a reality these days, even though personal insight, full development of the mind generally will take place outside it.

My niece graduated at the top of her class at U.C. Davis, by the way, at 20, and she doesn't have a H.S. diploma yet. I doubt that she'll bother.  She's gainfully employed. She got into U.C. Davis by way of the community college courses she began taking when she was fifteen.

.ren's picture
DRC wrote:D'Souza's latest

DRC wrote:
D'Souza's latest piece of intellectual garbage attempts to "explain" 'Obama's Rage.'  What rage?  Obama is the coolest and most patient of men, and while my side might like to watch Obama go off with rage, he is far more effective using competence and calm than he would be acting out for our entertainment.

Yeah, I saw that the other day in my daily emails from Townhall.com

Since its release, Dinesh D'Souza's earth-shattering new book The Roots of Obama's Rage has taken the country by storm. Denounced by the White House and the liberal left, D'Souza exposes the origins of Barack Obama's ideology. Stemming from an anticolonialist upbringing, Obama's beliefs are influencing the radical policies we have seen played out in front of us since his inauguration.

Appearing on Glenn Beck's hit television show, D'Souza laid out his contentions based on extensive research on Barack Obama's history and influences. Looking at his psychological and intellectual background through his family influences, the results are disturbing - an overt anticolonialist rage against the west. Get Townhall Magazine today and receive The Roots of Obama's Rage absolutely free!

Fodder for the sheep.  This particular message is dipped in a heavy sauce of PCP and adrenalin to stoke the rage.  Townhall has all their various shephard's voices, from George Will to Ronald Reagan's kid, Michael Reagan (Ronald Reagan Was the Tea Party), and I always knew before they posted what the cons you've culled from this site were going to say any given day by reading the daily headlines.

hgovernick's picture
It doesn't matter which way

It doesn't matter which way you voted.  As long as I am here, America is safe.

telliottmbamsc's picture
Until the needs of the

Until the needs of the Average Taxpayer can be usefully reflected in the Financial Markets there will be a disconnect between law that is maximally beneficial to American society and that legislation that comes out of Washington (regardless of the political party in control).  As a major creditor nation and himself dependent upon large campaign contributors this will describe the Obama presidency in its totality as well as it does his Health Care and Financial Reform.   He is a Corporatist Blue Dog.   Of course he didn’t do all he could have done in response to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United. 


Obama lied to get into office.  He was an opportunistic populist farce of the worst kind – taking advantage of the country when it was in its greatest need after 8 years of that Republican piece of human filth George W. Bush.  Now in office Obama lacks the courage and leadership to make the changes that would usher in a new invariably more prosperous America with a government that represents its people. 


Without a complete ban on all political giving our two party system of Democrats and Republicans/Tea-Partiers is a cancer on American society.  The country desperately needs selfless leaders.  Progressives need to distance themselves from the Democratic Party. 


Vote for Obama in 2012?  Not a chance. And if there is any, and I mean absolutely any, interference in the Primaries by the Democratic National Party for any political office, National, State or Local, I will vote for that imbecile Sarah Palin.  Given how socially backward she is she will most likely try to limit American Societies values to the dark ages.  But on the economy?  Does anyone really think that at that time the Corporations are going to let the office of the President put the best interests of the average taxpayers before their own?   No!  Of course not!  The women from Alaska - who clearly meets the clinical definition of an idiot - will probably do no more or less than the Corporations would let Obama do at the time. 


So, I’m voting for CHANGE come November.   Mr. Feingold, Tammy Baldwin. etc. it is called “MonsterBoard.com” and your going to love it.  But the cycle will be broken even if that means I have to vote for some ass-n-nine Republican.  Sadly the damage to the environment – the last bubble to burst - will be irreversible and the social chaos will be painful.


Good luck America.


DRC i stand corrected.  One

DRC i stand corrected.  One need not be individuated to realize that it is in their own best interest to be anti-corporatist.  Rationally speaking, it is a no-brainer. 

Ren wrote: It's always been

Ren wrote: It's always been interesting to me that the structure of the education system -- grading, metering meritocracy, sorting out the "successful" from the less so -- virtually flies in the face of critical thinking.  It's like the strict parent who kills the "no!"

poly replies: If a kid can make it through elementary school, from then on what works is to agree with the teachers to get scholarships, and educate yourself. Challenges to the presented material can be answered in the library. Instructors provide more questions than answes. if you disect what they are saying. Getting an "A" is the easy part. Getting an education is the challenge.

I was a lucky kid. I had a dear aunt who encouraged me to challenge everything ...including her own ideas! Dang, I mess her and our numerous discussions from childhood on..

Ren wrote: Choco, I think poly understands we are under an oligarchy, a corporatocracy, a polyarchy or some such.  What's difficult is to determine and articulate with any high degree of precision is exactly how the structure of decision making takes place, or if it's actually more a matter of Wolin's inverted totalitarianism

poly replies: It's difficult to communicate that without appearing cynical or "giving up".. What appears on the surface structures is an illlusion. It isn't really how things function.

We aren't battling forces who wear kid gloves. and abide by gentlemanly agreements.  The Social Dems of pre-Hitler Germany made that mistake, just as they did in Chile and Argentina a decade or so ago. Just as the liberal forces in Nicaragua did.  When push comes to shove, some have tanks.

Choco wrote: So Poly, Obama did not select Bernanke, Bernanke and his ilk selected Obama.

poly replies: I see you're getting it,. The contendors for the presidency were vetted. The others were quickly swept from the TV screen and newspapers. Bernanke's re-nomination was a given under Hillary, Obama or McCain. Now Dems and Repugnants  can go back to debating who can marry who or which party's health care proposals are the most dysfunctional.to keep us focused on the "real" issues. LOL.

P.s. White I disagee with Mel's vote, I give her an "A" for effort.. It would be ironic if she's proven correct  wouldn't it? Time will tell.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

Volitzer's picture
Don't worry just vote in the

Don't worry just vote in the other Globalist party.  Either Kang or Kodos.  I mean with the internet available to us and all how hard was it to find out about the Constitution Party ?

These TEA Partiers will have a big shock in 2011 when their shamdidates turn out to be Globalist shills working for the New World Order, but don't worry the Democrats will have their shamdidate to save us from the TEA Party shamdidate.

Then when we wake up in the FEMA Camps with NWO mercenaries telling us what to do we can feel so proud of our 3rd party discrimination.

makuck's picture
Half of this thread is dem's

Half of this thread is dem's agreeing with republican talking points.. make the government fail. I was thinking guys like Bernie Sanders, and Alan Grayson were the only things standing between me and corporations trying to turn me into a slave. I don't see how you can lump leaders of the current progressive movement into shamidate status, or wanting their plans to fail, while saying we need to get more progressive. We should be rallying behind progressives, even if they aren't in our state. There are still a few good democrats. There used to be more. There used to be a few good republicans. Just because it isn't that way anymore doesn't me it will always be that way. It doesn't mean a real grass root third party couldn't arise. We still have the vote. Any one of you could advertise and campaign for a 3rd party. Honestly, I find the defeatist attitude sickening.

The talking points being? My

The talking points being?

My disagreements with the Dems pretty much revolve around Republican policies being continued under the Dems.

Dems condemned Bush policies, and maintain them.

Repugnants are condemning Obama's policies, and will maintain them.

Disagreements are in implimentation., not in core policy unless you get into who can marry who.

My pres. candidate was Kucinich...shot down at the starting gate. My Sen. candidate was shot down in the primary by a financial  industry lackey...U.S. Sen. Bennett.

Dems wouldn't recognize a progressive if he had the word printed on his forehead.. They confuse "feel good rhetoric" with substance. They seem to want change, and are afraid of it, Smooth talk 'em, make them feel better.

Societies seldom change unless a crises forces it. Perhaps we haven't reached that point, though we undoubtably will if there isn't a quick reversal in policy.  That's why I understand Mel's vote even though I disagree with it.

I also, by the way, vehemently opposed Dems in the south who swore they'd die rather than give up segregation. I picketed Dem. Gov. Wallace as a young man when he gave a talk at the Univ of Colorado. I was visiting Denver at the time.

A Dem label doesn't mean squat if the person behind it is a jerk.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"


.ren's picture
makuck wrote:Half of this

makuck wrote:
Half of this thread is dem's agreeing with republican talking points.. make the government fail. I was thinking guys like Bernie Sanders, and Alan Grayson were the only things standing between me and corporations trying to turn me into a slave. I don't see how you can lump leaders of the current progressive movement into shamidate status, or wanting their plans to fail, while saying we need to get more progressive. We should be rallying behind progressives, even if they aren't in our state. There are still a few good democrats. There used to be more. There used to be a few good republicans. Just because it isn't that way anymore doesn't me it will always be that way. It doesn't mean a real grass root third party couldn't arise. We still have the vote. Any one of you could advertise and campaign for a 3rd party. Honestly, I find the defeatist attitude sickening.

Without criticism of those in power, we allow an imbalance to develop in our societies.

I'm currently reading The Death of the Liberal Class, by Chris Hedges.  While I'm philosophically not that nuts about Marxist terminology, like "class" -- I have developed a philosophy that puts more emphasis on deriving meaning from context, and so I am uncomfortable with any form of broad brush categorization -- I also acknowledge that categorizing has its uses in our attempts to derive a narrative about history that can help us to make sense of the presence.  And it's from these narratives that we can help ourselves remember that there have been serious imbalances in societies in the past and many people have put their lives on the line to redress those imbalances, and sometimes it's been successful.  So far in my reading, I'm finding that Chris pretty accurately chronicles the process I experienced personally, from high school, through Vietnam, through college afterward and through the rise of what many of us refer to now as neoliberalism, which most of us can point to beginning with the Reagan Administration.

I never though of what happened in terms of "a dying of a liberal class," but I do recognize that the hippies and their culture were absorbed out of a kind of ideological existence, and out of their position as outsiders with a valid critique of the status quo.   I can see that this was done by the ever powerful forces of commodification and the mass propaganda that commodifies us and all we value.  The vitality of any critique can be sucked out of anyone with this very successful technique of turning our values and ethics into symbols that are commodified.  The Rock music from that era became a big business.  Hippies who still listen to that rock music soon became yuppies for the most part, and for the majority in this nation, everything seemed to be fine, the music was great and the stereo technology was evolving, so why "rock" the boat?

When the forces of industry grew to absorb people who had once independently worked their farms and hacked a living out of the forest, doing for themselves along the way, we had the rise of an imbalance as those who accumulated the capital to create the industry grew rich and powerful, while many became wage earners (some saw themselves as wage slaves, recognizing that slavery was one variant of the need for a controlled and managed cheap labor force to complete the project of industrialization, itself a progressive if somewhat ugly force in the necessary advancement of American Exceptionalism) and we had labor driven populist movements driven by people influenced by the intellectual ideas we now call communism and socialism. 

Those forces that were in play have evolved, even though the public narrative on that evolution is spotty, and doesn't offer much depth of understanding as a story.  People talk about the way labor has lost its teeth.   Well, the industrial forces that created a large pool of blue collar workers was commodified into professions as our educational systems switched away from educating in the humanities, without which we lose our touch with the most humane of our past of contemplative and educated ancestors, to technological training to fit into the hungry bureaucracies of private industry, and industry itself evolved, creating rust belts as it left the industrial centers where labor unions had gone to bat to create a fair wage and a reasonably decent life for that pool of workers.  The forces caused by imbalance that made for a strong populism in the earlier part of the industrial revolution were no longer there in that form, though imbalance still exists.  The language that they developed to explain that imbalance no longer served those who are not getting a fair share.  The language they get now is produced by think tanks and a Main Stream Media that follows the ideology of markets which tells people that if they are not successful they need to work harder, and if that doesn't work, it's their own fault.  Anything they try to do through their government is not even seen in that light, "government" is an objectification, it's presented as a force outside themselves that they are subject to.  There are so many ways through the use of propaganda that people can be persuaded to give up their power. 

And that's why we need a "liberal class" as Hedges calls it.  There needs to be a group of people who criticize what's going on, who try to make sense of it, who are contraries, riding their horses backwards, doing all sorts of normal things in backward ways.  Those who did that have been bought off, and they have failed this nation.  But, that dark analysis is not offered as a reason to give up.  It's simply pointing out how the critics became the part of the power structure.  So some of us continue to analyze and criticize.

At this point, the word "progressive" is bandied about.  I'm not sure that it has enough collected sense of vision to be meaningful.  I'm not dismissing it, I'm critiquing in my mind what it means when people use it. I'm trying to understand what they mean. I do the same with words like neoliberal, neoconservative.  People bandy words about, but collections of words in sentences are not necessarily the same as meaning.  We have to make meaning by putting things in context, that's what I see.  And criticism helps us do that.  Criticism helps us keep things in perspective in case the whole herd heads off a cliff due to following some unquestioned ideology, like the ideology of a marketing program centered on the "audacity of hope and change."

Famed Obama 'Hope' poster artist losing hope


ekobe's picture
Speaking of Hedges, his

Speaking of Hedges, his recent piece pretty much says it all:


.ren's picture
ekobe wrote: Speaking of

ekobe wrote:

Speaking of Hedges, his recent piece pretty much says it all:


Yeah, I read that article Monday.  Good one. He basically cut and pasted whole paragraphs from his recently published book I'm reading, Death of the Liberal Class, which is composed of many small arguments like the one you'll find in that article. I suspect he will be drawing from it for his articles on truthdig for awhile.

I think there can be no "says it all."  We are in the midst of a process, constantly changing dynamics, and a good theory or hypothesis about what's taking place is helpful, but the theory cannot always explain.  Process and circumstances require an adaptive consciousness as well.

As our friend Antifascist put it recently on another thread, Chris is "a one man think tank."  And I've been watching him evolve in his thinking since I read War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning back in 2003.  He's interesting, provocative and challenging, while being approachable.  Kind of a rarity these days.

In chapter two of Death of the Liberal Class, Hedges revisits War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. He ties it together with things I've seen him develop about marketing, which he expanded on in Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle.   What he reveals is that people get swept up in the marketing of war, where war becomes a brand with an emotional appeal, just as they get swept up in various brands in politics, and he calls Obama a brand: Brand Obama, which he dissects and explains exactly how he was marketed as a brand.  This is the true nature of critique taking place.  You can believe it or not, but he does offer the facts with a narrative that is not a mainstream narrative. All of which dovetails into some of my own explorations, which include the marvelous documentary trilogy from Adam Curtis:

Century of the Self, The Power of Nightmares, and The Trap.

Choco's picture
I wonder if Hedges knew Steve

I wonder if Hedges knew Steve Kangas. Kangas died in Richard Mellon Scaife's building. He seemed well ahead of the game and was blogging on liberal issues before blogging was popular. Below is a link to his liberalism resurgent website


Steven Robert Esh (he later changed him name to Steve Kangas) was born on 11th May, 1961. His parents were conservative Christians and he attended private religious academies in South Carolina.

After graduating from high school in 1979, Kangas joined the US Army. He was later transferred to military intelligence and spent a year in Monterey (Defense Language Institute) learning Russian. He also spent time at Goodfellow Air Force Base in Texas before being sent to do secret work in Central America.

In 1984 Kangas moved to Germany where he was involved in electronic eavesdropping on Soviet military units in Eastern Europe, analyzing the transcripts and reporting back to NATO. It was at this time he began to question his conservative political beliefs.

Kangas left military intelligence in 1986 and became a student at the University of California in Santa Cruz. This experience moved him further to the left: "There, kindly professors pointed out to me the illogic of defending life by taking it, destroying the planet for a buck and shutting down schools to build more prisons. I am now thoroughly brainwashed to believe that kindness and human decency are positive traits to be emulated and encouraged."

Kangas ran the Liberalism Resurgent website. This included several articles on the activities of the Central Intelligence Agency. One of his online essays, The Origins of the Overclass, attempted to show "why the richest 1 percent have exploded ahead since 1975, with the help of the New Right, Corporate America and, surprisingly, the CIA." In the essay he argues that Richard Mellon Scaife ran "Forum World Features, a foreign news service used as a front to disseminate CIA propaganda around the world."

Scaife was very unhappy with the attack made on him and employed private detective, Rex Armistead, to carry out an investigation into Kangas.

It is believed that Kangas was working on a book about CIA covert activities when on 8th February, 1999, he was found dead in the bathroom of the offices of Richard Mellon Scaife, the owner of the Pittsburgh Tribune. He had been shot in the head. Officially he had committed suicide but some people believe he was murdered. In an article in Salon Magazine, (19th March, 1999) Andrew Leonard asked: "Why did the police report say the gun wound was to the left of his head, while the autopsy reported a wound on the roof of his mouth? Why had the hard drive on his computer been erased shortly after his death? Why had Scaife assigned his No. 1 private detective, Rex Armistead, to look into Kangas' past?"

.ren's picture
Hedges seems to have a wave

Hedges seems to have a wave length on everyone on the left who says anything to critique power, so I'd be very surprised if he wasn't aware of Steve Kangas, maybe even talked to him acting as his journalist self.  Hedges' argument in the Death of the Liberal Class isn't about any given individuals. It's about the system and how the need for critique has been subsumed, commodified so to speak.  He stresses how the system has worked to imbalance the forces of power, and how the intellectuals who are traditionally the ones to speak truth to power have reversed that model and begun to speak power to truth. He does mention some of those who actually did stand up.  He explains how Chomsky, for instance (only one example), has been effectively marginalized here in the U.S. and how his damning critique of the "liberal class" has been effective in changing absolutely nothing about the way many intellectuals have abondoned liberal values, and thus has done nothing to counter the way the values of liberalism that have been so effectively impugned by the Right.  So Hedges' critique of the liberal class is more along the lines of how so many have not stood up for liberal values.

I think Hedges has a little to worry about himself as he gets more an more familiar with the public. 

Do you think that Steve Kangas was revealing anything more damning than the reams and reams of information that I can find in Chomsky's many books, and a few others I could mention? 


Choco's picture
.ren wrote: Do you think that

.ren wrote:

Do you think that Steve Kangas was revealing anything more damning than the reams and reams of information that I can find in Chomsky's many books, and a few others I could mention? 


I hope you take the time to look through his website that I linked. Lot's of good stuff and resources there.

Kangas was in military inteligence and dug up all this stuff that Hedges and Chomsky won't touch. You have to go back to the end of WWII and follow the Nazi fascists being imported by our OSS, Wild Bill Donovan and the notorious Dulles Brothers. This eventually became the CIA. We imported fascists and set them up in our universities and intelligence agencies and this is confirmed by Antony C. Sutton and many others. We don't have Nazi fascists in this country so much as we have corporate fascists so it's important to know the roots of evil in this country and that leads to understanding how politics is a show that obscures the root problems, the controllers. Kangas more than understood the insidious evil of the fascist control of inteligence agencies, that operate in the dark with unknown budgets.

A Timeline of CIA Atrocities

By Steve Kangas

The following timeline describes just a few of the hundreds of atrocities and crimes committed by the CIA. (1)

CIA operations follow the same recurring script. First, American business interests abroad are threatened by a popular or democratically elected leader. The people support their leader because he intends to conduct land reform, strengthen unions, redistribute wealth, nationalize foreign-owned industry, and regulate business to protect workers, consumers and the environment. So, on behalf of American business, and often with their help, the CIA mobilizes the opposition. First it identifies right-wing groups within the country (usually the military), and offers them a deal: "We'll put you in power if you maintain a favorable business climate for us." The Agency then hires, trains and works with them to overthrow the existing government (usually a democracy). It uses every trick in the book: propaganda, stuffed ballot boxes, purchased elections, extortion, blackmail, sexual intrigue, false stories about opponents in the local media, infiltration and disruption of opposing political parties, kidnapping, beating, torture, intimidation, economic sabotage, death squads and even assassination. These efforts culminate in a military coup, which installs a right-wing dictator. The CIA trains the dictator’s security apparatus to crack down on the traditional enemies of big business, using interrogation, torture and murder. The victims are said to be "communists," but almost always they are just peasants, liberals, moderates, labor union leaders, political opponents and advocates of free speech and democracy. Widespread human rights abuses follow.

This scenario has been repeated so many times that the CIA actually teaches it in a special school, the notorious "School of the Americas." (It opened in Panama but later moved to Fort Benning, Georgia.) Critics have nicknamed it the "School of the Dictators" and "School of the Assassins." Here, the CIA trains Latin American military officers how to conduct coups, including the use of interrogation, torture and murder.

The Association for Responsible Dissent estimates that by 1987, 6 million people had died as a result of CIA covert operations. (2) Former State Department official William Blum correctly calls this an "American Holocaust."

The CIA justifies these actions as part of its war against communism. But most coups do not involve a communist threat. Unlucky nations are targeted for a wide variety of reasons: not only threats to American business interests abroad, but also liberal or even moderate social reforms, political instability, the unwillingness of a leader to carry out Washington’s dictates, and declarations of neutrality in the Cold War. Indeed, nothing has infuriated CIA Directors quite like a nation’s desire to stay out of the Cold War.

The ironic thing about all this intervention is that it frequently fails to achieve American objectives. Often the newly installed dictator grows comfortable with the security apparatus the CIA has built for him. He becomes an expert at running a police state. And because the dictator knows he cannot be overthrown, he becomes independent and defiant of Washington's will. The CIA then finds it cannot overthrow him, because the police and military are under the dictator's control, afraid to cooperate with American spies for fear of torture and execution. The only two options for the U.S at this point are impotence or war. Examples of this "boomerang effect" include the Shah of Iran, General Noriega and Saddam Hussein. The boomerang effect also explains why the CIA has proven highly successful at overthrowing democracies, but a wretched failure at overthrowing dictatorships.

The following timeline should confirm that the CIA as we know it should be abolished and replaced by a true information-gathering and analysis organization. The CIA cannot be reformed — it is institutionally and culturally corrupt.


The culture we lost

— Secretary of State Henry Stimson refuses to endorse a code-breaking operation, saying, "Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail."


COI created

— In preparation for World War II, President Roosevelt creates the Office of Coordinator of Information (COI). General William "Wild Bill" Donovan heads the new intelligence service.


OSS created

— Roosevelt restructures COI into something more suitable for covert action, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS). Donovan recruits so many of the nation’s rich and powerful that eventually people joke that "OSS" stands for "Oh, so social!" or "Oh, such snobs!"



— Donovan recruits the Catholic Church in Rome to be the center of Anglo-American spy operations in Fascist Italy. This would prove to be one of America’s most enduring intelligence alliances in the Cold War.



OSS is abolished

— The remaining American information agencies cease covert actions and return to harmless information gathering and analysis.


– While other American agencies are hunting down Nazi war criminals for arrest, the U.S. intelligence community is smuggling them into America, unpunished, for their use against the Soviets. The most important of these is Reinhard Gehlen, Hitler’s master spy who had built up an intelligence network in the Soviet Union. With full U.S. blessing, he creates the "Gehlen Organization," a band of refugee Nazi spies who reactivate their networks in Russia. These include SS intelligence officers Alfred Six and Emil Augsburg (who massacred Jews in the Holocaust), Klaus Barbie (the "Butcher of Lyon"), Otto von Bolschwing (the Holocaust mastermind who worked with Eichmann) and SS Colonel Otto Skorzeny (a personal friend of Hitler’s). The Gehlen Organization supplies the U.S. with its only intelligence on the Soviet Union for the next ten years, serving as a bridge between the abolishment of the OSS and the creation of the CIA. However, much of the "intelligence" the former Nazis provide is bogus. Gehlen inflates Soviet military capabilities at a time when Russia is still rebuilding its devastated society, in order to inflate his own importance to the Americans (who might otherwise punish him). In 1948, Gehlen almost convinces the Americans that war is imminent, and the West should make a preemptive strike. In the 50s he produces a fictitious "missile gap." To make matters worse, the Russians have thoroughly penetrated the Gehlen Organization with double agents, undermining the very American security that Gehlen was supposed to protect.




— President Truman requests military aid to Greece to support right-wing forces fighting communist rebels. For the rest of the Cold War, Washington and the CIA will back notorious Greek leaders with deplorable human rights records.

CIA created

— President Truman signs the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Council. The CIA is accountable to the president through the NSC — there is no democratic or congressional oversight. Its charter allows the CIA to "perform such other functions and duties… as the National Security Council may from time to time direct." This loophole opens the door to covert action and dirty tricks.



Covert-action wing created

— The CIA recreates a covert action wing, innocuously called the Office of Policy Coordination, led by Wall Street lawyer Frank Wisner. According to its secret charter, its responsibilities include "propaganda, economic warfare, preventive direct action, including sabotage, antisabotage, demolition and evacuation procedures; subversion against hostile states, including assistance to underground resistance groups, and support of indigenous anti-communist elements in threatened countries of the free world."


— The CIA corrupts democratic elections in Italy, where Italian communists threaten to win the elections. The CIA buys votes, broadcasts propaganda, threatens and beats up opposition leaders, and infiltrates and disrupts their organizations. It works -- the communists are defeated.


Radio Free Europe

— The CIA creates its first major propaganda outlet, Radio Free Europe. Over the next several decades, its broadcasts are so blatantly false that for a time it is considered illegal to publish transcripts of them in the U.S.

Late 40s


— The CIA begins recruiting American news organizations and journalists to become spies and disseminators of propaganda. The effort is headed by Frank Wisner, Allan Dulles, Richard Helms and Philip Graham. Graham is publisher of The Washington Post, which becomes a major CIA player. Eventually, the CIA’s media assets will include ABC, NBC, CBS, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Copley News Service and more. By the CIA’s own admission, at least 25 organizations and 400 journalists will become CIA assets.




– CIA overthrows the democratically elected Mohammed Mossadegh in a military coup, after he threatened to nationalize British oil. The CIA replaces him with a dictator, the Shah of Iran, whose secret police, SAVAK, is as brutal as the Gestapo.

Operation MK-ULTRA

— Inspired by North Korea’s brainwashing program, the CIA begins experiments on mind control. The most notorious part of this project involves giving LSD and other drugs to American subjects without their knowledge or against their will, causing several to commit suicide. However, the operation involves far more than this. Funded in part by the Rockefeller and Ford foundations, research includes propaganda, brainwashing, public relations, advertising, hypnosis, and other forms of suggestion.



— CIA overthrows the democratically elected Jacob Arbenz in a military coup. Arbenz has threatened to nationalize the Rockefeller-owned United Fruit Company, in which CIA Director Allen Dulles also owns stock. Arbenz is replaced with a series of right-wing dictators whose bloodthirsty policies will kill over 100,000 Guatemalans in the next 40 years.


North Vietnam

— CIA officer Edward Lansdale spends four years trying to overthrow the communist government of North Vietnam, using all the usual dirty tricks. The CIA also attempts to legitimize a tyrannical puppet regime in South Vietnam, headed by Ngo Dinh Diem. These efforts fail to win the hearts and minds of the South Vietnamese because the Diem government is opposed to true democracy, land reform and poverty reduction measures. The CIA’s continuing failure results in escalating American intervention, culminating in the Vietnam War.



— Radio Free Europe incites Hungary to revolt by broadcasting Khruschev’s Secret Speech, in which he denounced Stalin. It also hints that American aid will help the Hungarians fight. This aid fails to materialize as Hungarians launch a doomed armed revolt, which only invites a major Soviet invasion. The conflict kills 7,000 Soviets and 30,000 Hungarians.



— The CIA carries out approximately one coup per year trying to nullify Laos’ democratic elections. The problem is the Pathet Lao, a leftist group with enough popular support to be a member of any coalition government. In the late 50s, the CIA even creates an "Armee Clandestine" of Asian mercenaries to attack the Pathet Lao. After the CIA’s army suffers numerous defeats, the U.S. starts bombing, dropping more bombs on Laos than all the U.S. bombs dropped in World War II. A quarter of all Laotians will eventually become refugees, many living in caves.



— The U.S. military helps "Papa Doc" Duvalier become dictator of Haiti. He creates his own private police force, the "Tonton Macoutes," who terrorize the population with machetes. They will kill over 100,000 during the Duvalier family reign. The U.S. does not protest their dismal human rights record.





The Bay of Pigs

— The CIA sends 1,500 Cuban exiles to invade Castro’s Cuba. But "Operation Mongoose" fails, due to poor planning, security and backing. The planners had imagined that the invasion will spark a popular uprising against Castro -– which never happens. A promised American air strike also never occurs. This is the CIA’s first public setback, causing President Kennedy to fire CIA Director Allen Dulles.

Dominican Republic

— The CIA assassinates Rafael Trujillo, a murderous dictator Washington has supported since 1930. Trujillo’s business interests have grown so large (about 60 percent of the economy) that they have begun competing with American business interests.


— The CIA-backed military forces the democratically elected President Jose Velasco to resign. Vice President Carlos Arosemana replaces him; the CIA fills the now vacant vice presidency with its own man.

Congo (Zaire)

— The CIA assassinates the democratically elected Patrice Lumumba. However, public support for Lumumba’s politics runs so high that the CIA cannot clearly install his opponents in power. Four years of political turmoil follow.



Dominican Republic

— The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Juan Bosch in a military coup. The CIA installs a repressive, right-wing junta.


— A CIA-backed military coup overthrows President Arosemana, whose independent (not socialist) policies have become unacceptable to Washington. A military junta assumes command, cancels the 1964 elections, and begins abusing human rights.



— A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the democratically elected government of Joao Goulart. The junta that replaces it will, in the next two decades, become one of the most bloodthirsty in history. General Castelo Branco will create Latin America’s first death squads, or bands of secret police who hunt down "communists" for torture, interrogation and murder. Often these "communists" are no more than Branco’s political opponents. Later it is revealed that the CIA trains the death squads.






— The CIA overthrows the democratically elected Sukarno with a military coup. The CIA has been trying to eliminate Sukarno since 1957, using everything from attempted assassination to sexual intrigue, for nothing more than his declaring neutrality in the Cold War. His successor, General Suharto, will massacre between 500,000 to 1 million civilians accused of being "communist." The CIA supplies the names of countless suspects.

Dominican Republic

— A popular rebellion breaks out, promising to reinstall Juan Bosch as the country’s elected leader. The revolution is crushed when U.S. Marines land to uphold the military regime by force. The CIA directs everything behind the scenes.


— With the CIA’s backing, the king removes George Papandreous as prime minister. Papandreous has failed to vigorously support U.S. interests in Greece.

Congo (Zaire)

— A CIA-backed military coup installs Mobutu Sese Seko as dictator. The hated and repressive Mobutu exploits his desperately poor country for billions.


The Ramparts Affair

— The radical magazine Ramparts begins a series of unprecedented anti-CIA articles. Among their scoops: the CIA has paid the University of Michigan $25 million dollars to hire "professors" to train South Vietnamese students in covert police methods. MIT and other universities have received similar payments. Ramparts also reveals that the National Students’ Association is a CIA front. Students are sometimes recruited through blackmail and bribery, including draft deferments.




— A CIA-backed military coup overthrows the government two days before the elections. The favorite to win was George Papandreous, the liberal candidate. During the next six years, the "reign of the colonels" — backed by the CIA — will usher in the widespread use of torture and murder against political opponents. When a Greek ambassador objects to President Johnson about U.S. plans for Cypress, Johnson tells him: "Fuck your parliament and your constitution."

Operation PHEONIX

— The CIA helps South Vietnamese agents identify and then murder alleged Viet Cong leaders operating in South Vietnamese villages. According to a 1971 congressional report, this operation killed about 20,000 "Viet Cong."



Operation CHAOS

— The CIA has been illegally spying on American citizens since 1959, but with Operation CHAOS, President Johnson dramatically boosts the effort. CIA agents go undercover as student radicals to spy on and disrupt campus organizations protesting the Vietnam War. They are searching for Russian instigators, which they never find. CHAOS will eventually spy on 7,000 individuals and 1,000 organizations.


— A CIA-organized military operation captures legendary guerilla Che Guevara. The CIA wants to keep him alive for interrogation, but the Bolivian government executes him to prevent worldwide calls for clemency.



— The notorious CIA torturer Dan Mitrione arrives in Uruguay, a country torn with political strife. Whereas right-wing forces previously used torture only as a last resort, Mitrione convinces them to use it as a routine, widespread practice. "The precise pain, in the precise place, in the precise amount, for the desired effect," is his motto. The torture techniques he teaches to the death squads rival the Nazis’. He eventually becomes so feared that revolutionaries will kidnap and murder him a year later.



— The CIA overthrows Prince Sahounek, who is highly popular among Cambodians for keeping them out of the Vietnam War. He is replaced by CIA puppet Lon Nol, who immediately throws Cambodian troops into battle. This unpopular move strengthens once minor opposition parties like the Khmer Rouge, which achieves power in 1975 and massacres millions of its own people.




— After half a decade of CIA-inspired political turmoil, a CIA-backed military coup overthrows the leftist President Juan Torres. In the next two years, dictator Hugo Banzer will have over 2,000 political opponents arrested without trial, then tortured, raped and executed.


— "Papa Doc" Duvalier dies, leaving his 19-year old son "Baby Doc" Duvalier the dictator of Haiti. His son continues his bloody reign with full knowledge of the CIA.




The Case-Zablocki Act

— Congress passes an act requiring congressional review of executive agreements. In theory, this should make CIA operations more accountable. In fact, it is only marginally effective.


— Congress votes to cut off CIA funds for its secret war in Cambodia.

Wagergate Break-in

— President Nixon sends in a team of burglars to wiretap Democratic offices at Watergate. The team members have extensive CIA histories, including James McCord, E. Howard Hunt and five of the Cuban burglars. They work for the Committee to Reelect the President (CREEP), which does dirty work like disrupting Democratic campaigns and laundering Nixon’s illegal campaign contributions. CREEP’s activities are funded and organized by another CIA front, the Mullen Company.






— The CIA overthrows and assassinates Salvador Allende, Latin America’s first democratically elected socialist leader. The problems begin when Allende nationalizes American-owned firms in Chile. ITT offers the CIA $1 million for a coup (reportedly refused). The CIA replaces Allende with General Augusto Pinochet, who will torture and murder thousands of his own countrymen in a crackdown on labor leaders and the political left.

CIA begins internal investigations

— William Colby, the Deputy Director for Operations, orders all CIA personnel to report any and all illegal activities they know about. This information is later reported to Congress.

Watergate Scandal

— The CIA’s main collaborating newspaper in America, The Washington Post, reports Nixon’s crimes long before any other newspaper takes up the subject. The two reporters, Woodward and Bernstein, make almost no mention of the CIA’s many fingerprints all over the scandal. It is later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House, and knows many important intelligence figures, including General Alexander Haig. His main source, "Deep Throat," is probably one of those.

CIA Director Helms Fired

— President Nixon fires CIA Director Richard Helms for failing to help cover up the Watergate scandal. Helms and Nixon have always disliked each other. The new CIA director is William Colby, who is relatively more open to CIA reform.





CHAOS exposed

— Pulitzer prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh publishes a story about Operation CHAOS, the domestic surveillance and infiltration of anti-war and civil rights groups in the U.S. The story sparks national outrage.

Angleton fired

— Congress holds hearings on the illegal domestic spying efforts of James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s chief of counterintelligence. His efforts included mail-opening campaigns and secret surveillance of war protesters. The hearings result in his dismissal from the CIA.

House clears CIA in Watergate

— The House of Representatives clears the CIA of any complicity in Nixon’s Watergate break-in.

The Hughes Ryan Act

— Congress passes an amendment requiring the president to report nonintelligence CIA operations to the relevant congressional committees in a timely fashion.








— The CIA helps topple the democratically elected, left-leaning government of Prime Minister Edward Whitlam. The CIA does this by giving an ultimatum to its Governor-General, John Kerr. Kerr, a longtime CIA collaborator, exercises his constitutional right to dissolve the Whitlam government. The Governor-General is a largely ceremonial position appointed by the Queen; the Prime Minister is democratically elected. The use of this archaic and never-used law stuns the nation.


— Eager to demonstrate American military resolve after its defeat in Vietnam, Henry Kissinger launches a CIA-backed war in Angola. Contrary to Kissinger’s assertions, Angola is a country of little strategic importance and not seriously threatened by communism. The CIA backs the brutal leader of UNITAS, Jonas Savimbi. This polarizes Angolan politics and drives his opponents into the arms of Cuba and the Soviet Union for survival. Congress will cut off funds in 1976, but the CIA is able to run the war off the books until 1984, when funding is legalized again. This entirely pointless war kills over 300,000 Angolans.

"The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence"

— Victor Marchetti and John Marks publish this whistle-blowing history of CIA crimes and abuses. Marchetti has spent 14 years in the CIA, eventually becoming an executive assistant to the Deputy Director of Intelligence. Marks has spent five years as an intelligence official in the State Department.

"Inside the Company"

— Philip Agee publishes a diary of his life inside the CIA. Agee has worked in covert operations in Latin America during the 60s, and details the crimes in which he took part.

Congress investigates CIA wrong-doing

— Public outrage compels Congress to hold hearings on CIA crimes. Senator Frank Church heads the Senate investigation ("The Church Committee"), and Representative Otis Pike heads the House investigation. (Despite a 98 percent incumbency reelection rate, both Church and Pike are defeated in the next elections.) The investigations lead to a number of reforms intended to increase the CIA’s accountability to Congress, including the creation of a standing Senate committee on intelligence. However, the reforms prove ineffective, as the Iran/Contra scandal will show. It turns out the CIA can control, deal with or sidestep Congress with ease.

The Rockefeller Commission

— In an attempt to reduce the damage done by the Church Committee, President Ford creates the "Rockefeller Commission" to whitewash CIA history and propose toothless reforms. The commission’s namesake, Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, is himself a major CIA figure. Five of the commission’s eight members are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations, a CIA-dominated organization.






— The CIA fails to predict the fall of the Shah of Iran, a longtime CIA puppet, and the rise of Muslim fundamentalists who are furious at the CIA’s backing of SAVAK, the Shah’s bloodthirsty secret police. In revenge, the Muslims take 52 Americans hostage in the U.S. embassy in Tehran.


— The Soviets invade Afghanistan. The CIA immediately begins supplying arms to any faction willing to fight the occupying Soviets. Such indiscriminate arming means that when the Soviets leave Afghanistan, civil war will erupt. Also, fanatical Muslim extremists now possess state-of-the-art weaponry. One of these is Sheik Abdel Rahman, who will become involved in the World Trade Center bombing in New York.

El Salvador

— An idealistic group of young military officers, repulsed by the massacre of the poor, overthrows the right-wing government. However, the U.S. compels the inexperienced officers to include many of the old guard in key positions in their new government. Soon, things are back to "normal" — the military government is repressing and killing poor civilian protesters. Many of the young military and civilian reformers, finding themselves powerless, resign in disgust.


— Anastasios Samoza II, the CIA-backed dictator, falls. The Marxist Sandinistas take over government, and they are initially popular because of their commitment to land and anti-poverty reform. Samoza had a murderous and hated personal army called the National Guard. Remnants of the Guard will become the Contras, who fight a CIA-backed guerilla war against the Sandinista government throughout the 1980s.


El Salvador

— The Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, pleads with President Carter "Christian to Christian" to stop aiding the military government slaughtering his people. Carter refuses. Shortly afterwards, right-wing leader Roberto D’Aubuisson has Romero shot through the heart while saying Mass. The country soon dissolves into civil war, with the peasants in the hills fighting against the military government. The CIA and U.S. Armed Forces supply the government with overwhelming military and intelligence superiority. CIA-trained death squads roam the countryside, committing atrocities like that of El Mazote in 1982, where they massacre between 700 and 1000 men, women and children. By 1992, some 63,000 Salvadorans will be killed.


Iran/Contra Begins

— The CIA begins selling arms to Iran at high prices, using the profits to arm the Contras fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua. President Reagan vows that the Sandinistas will be "pressured" until "they say ‘uncle.’" The CIA’s Freedom Fighter’s Manual disbursed to the Contras includes instruction on economic sabotage, propaganda, extortion, bribery, blackmail, interrogation, torture, murder and political assassination.



— The CIA gives Honduran military officers the Human Resource Exploitation Training Manual – 1983, which teaches how to torture people. Honduras’ notorious "Battalion 316" then uses these techniques, with the CIA’s full knowledge, on thousands of leftist dissidents. At least 184 are murdered.


The Boland Amendment

— The last of a series of Boland Amendments is passed. These amendments have reduced CIA aid to the Contras; the last one cuts it off completely. However, CIA Director William Casey is already prepared to "hand off" the operation to Colonel Oliver North, who illegally continues supplying the Contras through the CIA’s informal, secret, and self-financing network. This includes "humanitarian aid" donated by Adolph Coors and William Simon, and military aid funded by Iranian arms sales.




Eugene Hasenfus

— Nicaragua shoots down a C-123 transport plane carrying military supplies to the Contras. The lone survivor, Eugene Hasenfus, turns out to be a CIA employee, as are the two dead pilots. The airplane belongs to Southern Air Transport, a CIA front. The incident makes a mockery of President Reagan’s claims that the CIA is not illegally arming the Contras.

Iran/Contra Scandal

— Although the details have long been known, the Iran/Contra scandal finally captures the media’s attention in 1986. Congress holds hearings, and several key figures (like Oliver North) lie under oath to protect the intelligence community. CIA Director William Casey dies of brain cancer before Congress can question him. All reforms enacted by Congress after the scandal are purely cosmetic.


— Rising popular revolt in Haiti means that "Baby Doc" Duvalier will remain "President for Life" only if he has a short one. The U.S., which hates instability in a puppet country, flies the despotic Duvalier to the South of France for a comfortable retirement. The CIA then rigs the upcoming elections in favor of another right-wing military strongman. However, violence keeps the country in political turmoil for another four years. The CIA tries to strengthen the military by creating the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which suppresses popular revolt through torture and assassination.



— The U.S. invades Panama to overthrow a dictator of its own making, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega has been on the CIA’s payroll since 1966, and has been transporting drugs with the CIA’s knowledge since 1972. By the late 80s, Noriega’s growing independence and intransigence have angered Washington… so out he goes.



— Competing against 10 comparatively wealthy candidates, leftist priest Jean-Bertrand Aristide captures 68 percent of the vote. After only eight months in power, however, the CIA-backed military deposes him. More military dictators brutalize the country, as thousands of Haitian refugees escape the turmoil in barely seaworthy boats. As popular opinion calls for Aristide’s return, the CIA begins a disinformation campaign painting the courageous priest as mentally unstable.



The Gulf War

— The U.S. liberates Kuwait from Iraq. But Iraq’s dictator, Saddam Hussein, is another creature of the CIA. With U.S. encouragement, Hussein invaded Iran in 1980. During this costly eight-year war, the CIA built up Hussein’s forces with sophisticated arms, intelligence, training and financial backing. This cemented Hussein’s power at home, allowing him to crush the many internal rebellions that erupted from time to time, sometimes with poison gas. It also gave him all the military might he needed to conduct further adventurism — in Kuwait, for example.

The Fall of the Soviet Union

— The CIA fails to predict this most important event of the Cold War. This suggests that it has been so busy undermining governments that it hasn’t been doing its primary job: gathering and analyzing information. The fall of the Soviet Union also robs the CIA of its reason for existence: fighting communism. This leads some to accuse the CIA of intentionally failing to predict the downfall of the Soviet Union. Curiously, the intelligence community’s budget is not significantly reduced after the demise of communism.


Economic Espionage

— In the years following the end of the Cold War, the CIA is increasingly used for economic espionage. This involves stealing the technological secrets of competing foreign companies and giving them to American ones. Given the CIA’s clear preference for dirty tricks over mere information gathering, the possibility of serious criminal behavior is very great indeed.




— The chaos in Haiti grows so bad that President Clinton has no choice but to remove the Haitian military dictator, Raoul Cedras, on threat of U.S. invasion. The U.S. occupiers do not arrest Haiti’s military leaders for crimes against humanity, but instead ensure their safety and rich retirements. Aristide is returned to power only after being forced to accept an agenda favorable to the country’s ruling class.


In a speech before the CIA celebrating its 50th anniversary, President Clinton said: "By necessity, the American people will never know the full story of your courage."

Clinton’s is a common defense of the CIA: namely, the American people should stop criticizing the CIA because they don’t know what it really does. This, of course, is the heart of the problem in the first place. An agency that is above criticism is also above moral behavior and reform. Its secrecy and lack of accountability allows its corruption to grow unchecked.

Furthermore, Clinton’s statement is simply untrue. The history of the agency is growing painfully clear, especially with the declassification of historical CIA documents. We may not know the details of specific operations, but we do know, quite well, the general behavior of the CIA. These facts began emerging nearly two decades ago at an ever-quickening pace. Today we have a remarkably accurate and consistent picture, repeated in country after country, and verified from countless different directions.

The CIA’s response to this growing knowledge and criticism follows a typical historical pattern. (Indeed, there are remarkable parallels to the Medieval Church’s fight against the Scientific Revolution.) The first journalists and writers to reveal the CIA’s criminal behavior were harassed and censored if they were American writers, and tortured and murdered if they were foreigners. (See Philip Agee’s On the Run for an example of early harassment.) However, over the last two decades the tide of evidence has become overwhelming, and the CIA has found that it does not have enough fingers to plug every hole in the dike. This is especially true in the age of the Internet, where information flows freely among millions of people. Since censorship is impossible, the Agency must now defend itself with apologetics. Clinton’s "Americans will never know" defense is a prime example.

Another common apologetic is that "the world is filled with unsavory characters, and we must deal with them if we are to protect American interests at all." There are two things wrong with this. First, it ignores the fact that the CIA has regularly spurned alliances with defenders of democracy, free speech and human rights, preferring the company of military dictators and tyrants. The CIA had moral options available to them, but did not take them.

Second, this argument begs several questions. The first is: "Which American interests?" The CIA has courted right-wing dictators because they allow wealthy Americans to exploit the country’s cheap labor and resources. But poor and middle-class Americans pay the price whenever they fight the wars that stem from CIA actions, from Vietnam to the Gulf War to Panama. The second begged question is: "Why should American interests come at the expense of other peoples’ human rights?"

The CIA should be abolished, its leadership dismissed and its relevant members tried for crimes against humanity. Our intelligence community should be rebuilt from the ground up, with the goal of collecting and analyzing information. As for covert action, there are two moral options. The first one is to eliminate covert action completely. But this gives jitters to people worried about the Adolf Hitlers of the world. So a second option is that we can place covert action under extensive and true democratic oversight. For example, a bipartisan Congressional Committee of 40 members could review and veto all aspects of CIA operations upon a majority or super-majority vote. Which of these two options is best may be the subject of debate, but one thing is clear: like dictatorship, like monarchy, unaccountable covert operations should die like the dinosaurs they are.


douglaslee's picture
After this post I am going to

After this post I am going to the many links in this thread.

First to Mel, I don't believe in tough love or scorched earth practices. Although a midterm election doesn't have the significance of a presidential year, there are still consequences. Corporate power is for most on this board a problem. One solution is antitrust enforcement. Judicial is the one branch often ignored by the voting public, and always comes back to bite them. I have no idea who Gore would have appointed AG, but after a replacement of Rhenquist and Sandy [assuming he would be reelected, or weighing the  lack of guilt Sandy felt for Gore v Bush, she would have quit during Gore's first term], DOJ might have had a chance to enforce freemarket reality instead of myth. Another oppurtunity lost was Kerry, which  begat the current corporate money avalanche. District judicial appointments  do matter. I don't think the current mortgage foreclosure fraud would have mattered to republicans, fraud and theft are laudable qualities in their camp.

.ren's picture
Choco wrote:I hope you take

Choco wrote:
I hope you take the time to look through his website that I linked. Lot's of good stuff and resources there.

I agree, I Iooked. 

Let me also point out that I don't need reams of details to persuade me that something stinks, I've seen reams of details myself since I woke up during Vietnam.  There is always the danger one can get bogged down in details and not see the big picture.   I don't discount the importance of details, but I always try to keep my larger hypotheses in mind, because those involve my ability to imagine the bigger picture.  There is an overall goal behind the CIA, and it does fit into a larger narrative. People in general don't respond to details.  So what do they respond to?  How are they managed?  Those are the questions I've felt forced to ask after bringing details to their attention and watching their eyes roll.

Choco wrote:
Kangas was in military inteligence and dug up all this stuff that Hedges and Chomsky won't touch.

I really don't think that's accurate about Hedges and Chomsky.  I think they are looking at the problem of power and societal control from a different perspective.  I don't think any information would scare them.  But they are theoreticians and they develop theories about power and how it's exercised.  Both of them find plenty to damn about the CIA and the use of these secret powers by the powers that be.  Both have decried the unconstitutionality of a President having a private army at his disposal which can work utterly in secret. 

They raise the issue of the problem of secrecy in a democracy and then watch as the general population of liberal intellectuals put greater weight on the successful propaganda behind the need for maintaining national security, and believing in the threats to the nation that the CIA is supposedly out there protecting us all from. The NYTimes is a fine example of how that "liberal class" deception they and others allude to takes place as it served as the primary national cheerleaders to behind all the phony threats in build up to the invasion of Iraq.  That kind of media power is the true power of powers that be being exercised, in my observation.  Chomsky can put me to sleep over the reams of data on the CIA, Pol Pot, and Khmer Rouge in Cambodia or all the U.S. illegal interventions into the governments in South America.

This is from a 1994 interview of Chomsky by David Barsimian, Secrets, Lies and Democracy, just to show that Chomsky does not see the role of the CIA with any great favor:


What about the role of the CIA in a democratic society? Is that an oxymoron?

You could imagine a democratic society with an organization that carries out intelligence-gathering functions. But that's a very minor part of what the CIA does. Its main purpose is to carry out secret and usually illegal activities for the executive branch, which wants to keep these activities secret because it knows that the public won't accept them. So even inside the US, it's highly undemocratic.

The activities that it carries out are quite commonly efforts to undermine democracy, as in Chile through the 1960s into the early 1970s [described on pp. 91-95]. That's far from the only example. By the way, although most people focus on Nixon's and Kissinger's involvement with the CIA, Kennedy and Johnson carried out similar policies.

Is the CIA an instrument of state policy, or does it formulate policy on its own?

You can't be certain, but my own view is that the CIA is very much under the control of executive power. I've studied those records fairly extensively in many cases, and it's very rare for the CIA to undertake initiatives on its own.

It often looks as though it does, but that's because the executive wants to preserve deniability. The executive branch doesn't want to have documents lying around that say, I told you to murder Lumumba, or to overthrow the government of Brazil, or to assassinate Castro.

So the executive branch tries to follow policies of plausible deniability, which means that messages are given to the CIA to do things but without a paper trail, without a record. When the story comes out later, it looks as if the CIA is doing things on their own. But if you really trace it through, I think this almost never happens.

Once again, the argument that I've personally been developing, and which is why I have valued the insights I've gained from a range of thinkers, including Hedges and Chomsky, but I would also include Orwell, Jacques Ellul, Sheldon Wolin and a host of others, goes something like this: if the powers that be are threatened in their management of society, that is, if the population is moved by something someone is saying and is willing to try to do something to limit their power, then they will begin to act, and they will do so in a variety of ways.  History shows they have done that.

In an inverted totalitarian structure, economics trumps politics.  In our system the powers that be are the economic powers and the ones that manage the economy.  These powers have pretty much gained control of the government.  They manage it systemically with a range of instruments, that include people's very livelihoods  I think that's the system we have to come to grips with.

Right now the system itself is still very effective in keeping everyone in line.  As the system fails, then we will see other instruments of power begin to be exercised, and we have witnessed those instruments being formally put in place by Congress, in establishing laws like Homeland Security, POTUS exercising the elements of the Unitary Executive Theory, like executive orders to allow extraordinary rendition and previously determined torture as methods of questioning, and we have seen the establishing of a Supreme Court that has a legal philosophy that supports the legal arguments behind the UET, as well as supporting the take over of the government by corporatocracy by favoring corporations in certain kinds of questionable legal decisions.  These are all the features of external control that those in the decision making positions can exert when the hegemony of population agreement breaks down and coercion becomes necessary.


DRC's picture
The most concise frame for

The most concise frame for what has been detailed above for me comes from Chalmers Johnson.  He says we have to choose between empire and democracy, or a republic, to cover the redundant.  Empires are totalitarian and require emperors exercising top-down power.  They exercise that power as the agent of the imperial powers, and should any of them think those powers need a kick in the ass, he better have a lot of people covering his back.

Empires are not interested in mutual relationships with other nations.  They are there to dominate or conspire with their satraps.  They "need to know" the secrets of everyone else, who, of course, cannot be allowed to know the secrets of the Empire.  Most important, the citizens of the Empire must not know the secrets.  (The rest of the world knows by experience, but does not have documents recognized as valid by the defenders of power in the press.

When we think about Obama in DC, we need to remember that the Empire has several decades of entrenchment and has roots going back into WWII and even earlier.  The military was not a dominant player in the politics or budgets of  DC  until WWII where "the lessons of history" were all about needing a standing military instead of having to mobilize to respond to an attack.

Without giving any moral credit to the Japanese Empire, (all empires are evil), the attack on Pearl Harbor was the result of our imperial encroachment on their sphere of interest and our blockade of their route to oil.  Pearl Harbor was more symbolic than strategic, and far more an act of desperation than of hubris.  The hope was that we would give up on the Far East Pacific as an area of our domination.  Had they taken out the oil reserves at Pearl, it would have taken us far longer to respond.

The attraction of a "new Pearl Harbor" holds the narrative frame together very well.  FDR can be given some credit for getting us into the war against the Nazis, and the Japanese were guilty of plenty of war crimes in China and Manchuria; but there is no question that he did use Pearl Harbor to get us there.  There is also good data that he knew something was coming; and there is data that a delegation from Japan was meeting with us about surrender, with the retention of the emperor the essential point against "unconditional" surrender.  We did that after we took over, but also after we dropped the bombs.

As pointed out, Truman was a Cold Warrior.  His repute as a tough Democrat is nostalgia.  He could not stop Taft-Hartley, and he gave the CIA all it wanted.  When you begin with this period and the Dulles Bros. et al, the development of an Imperial Presidency and DC as a Cold War strategy center more than about domestic democracy or the internationalism of the UN.  I think FDR liked the UN, but he mobilized the military and his VP gave it the go-ahead when he died.  

Even Johnson, who was actually very good on domestic policies, was an imperialist abroad.  He did not need to follow the military into expanding Vietnam because he was the last Democratic President who had more dirt on his opponents than they had leverage over him.  He may not have loved Vietnam, but he had never been Majority Leader at the UN.  He worked better with the Pentagon than he did with the State Dept.