Monday, August 28, 2017

«We don’t need no stinkin’ facts»by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

Weaponization of History and Journalism

Weaponization of History and Journalism 

 | 28.08.2017 | WORLD

In the United States facts, an important element of truth, are not important. They are not important in the media, politics, universities, or the courtroom. Non-factual explanations of the collapse of three World Trade Center buildings are served up as the official explanation. Facts have been politicized, emotionalized, weaponized and simply ignored. As David Irving has shown, Anglo-American histories of World War 2 are, for the most part, feel-good histories, as are «civil war» histories as Thomas DiLorenzo and others have demonstrated. Of course, they are feel good only for the victors. Their emotional purpose means that inconvenient facts are unpalatable and ignored.
Writing the truth is no way to succeed as an author. Only a small percentage of readers are interested in the truth. Most want their biases or brainwashing vindicated. They want to read what they already believe. It is comforting, reassuring. When their ignorance is confronted, they become angry. The way to be successful as a writer is to pick a group and give them what they want. There is always a market for romance novels and for histories that uphold a country’s myths. On the Internet successful sites are those who play to one ideology or another, to one emotion or the other, or to one interest group or another. The single rule for success is to confine truth to what the readership group you serve believes.
Keep this in mind when you receive shortly my September quarterly request for your support of this website. There are not many like it. This site does not represent an interest group, an ideology, a hate group, an ethnic group or any cause other than truth. This is not to say that this site is proof against error. It is only to say that truth is its purpose.
Karl Marx said that there were only class truths. Today we have a large variety of truths: truths for feminists, truths for blacks, Muslims, Hispanics, homosexuals, transgendered, truths for the foreign policy community that serves the military/security complex, truths for the neocons, truths for the One Percent that control the economy and the economists who serve them, truths for «white supremacists», itself a truth term for their opponents. You can add to the list. The «truth» in these «truths» is that they are self-serving of the group that expresses them. Their actual relation to truth is of no consequence to those espousing the «truths». 
Woe to you if you don’t go along with someone’s or some group’s truth. Not even famous film-maker Oliver Stone is immune. Recently, Stone expressed his frustration with the «False Flag War Against Russia». Little doubt that Stone is frustrated with taunts and accusations from completely ignorant media talking heads in response to his documentary, Putin, based on many hours of interviews over two years. Stone came under fire, because instead of demonizing Putin and Russia, thus confirming the official story, he showed us glimpses of the truth.
The organization, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, published a report that completely destroyed the false accusations about Trump/Russian hacking of the US presidential election. The Nation published an objective article about the report and was assaulted by writers, contributors, and readers for publishing information that weakens the case, which the liberal/progressive/left in conjunction with the military/security complex is orchestrating, against Trump. The magazine’s audience felt that the magazine had an obligation not to truth but to getting Trump out of office. Reportedly, the editor is considering whether to recall the article. 
So here we have left-leaning Oliver Stone and leftwing magazine, The Nation, under fire for making information available that is out of step with the self-serving «truth» to which the liberal/progressive/left and their ally, the military/security complex, are committed. 
When a country has a population among whom there are no truths except group-specific truths, the country is so divided as to be over and done with. «A house divided against itself cannot stand». The white liberal/progressive/left leaders of divisive Identity Politics have little, if any, comprehension of where the movement they think they lead is headed. At the moment the hate is focused on the «alt-right», which has become «white nationalists», which has become «white supremacists». These «white supremacists» have become epitomized by statues of Confederate soldiers and generals. All over the South, if local governments are not removing the statues, violent crazed thugs consumed by hate are. In New Orleans someone with money bused in thugs from outside flying banners that apparently are derived from a communist flag to confront locals protesting the departure of their history down the Orwellian Memory Hole.
What happens when all the monuments are gone? Where does the hate turn next? Once non-whites are taught to hate whites, not even self-hating whites are safe. How do those taught hate tell a good white from a bad white? They can’t and they won’t. By definition by Identity Politics, whites, for now white heterosexual males, are the victimizers and everyone else is their victim. The absurdity of this concept is apparent, yet the concept is unshaken by its absurdity. White heterosexual males are the only ones without the privilege of quotas. They and only they can be put at the back of the bus for university admissions, employment, promotion, and only their speech is regulated. They, and only they, can be fired for using «gender specific terms», for using race specific terms, for unknowingly offending some preferred group member by using a word that is no longer permissible. They can be called every name in the book, beginning with racist, misogynist, and escalating, and no one is punished for the offense.
For years commentators have recognized the shrinking arena of free speech in the United States. Any speech that offends anyone but a white male can be curtailed by punishment. Recently, John Whitehead, constitutional attorney who heads the Rutherford Institute, wrote that it is now dangerous just to defend free speech. Reference to the First Amendment suffices to bring denunciation and threats of violence. Ron Unz notes that any website that can be demonized as «controversial» can find itself disappeared by Internet companies and PayPal who simply terminate free speech by cutting off service. 
Recently, a professor in the business school of a major university told me that he has used the word, girls, in a marketing discussion. A young woman was offended. The result was he received a dressing down from the dean. Another professor told me that at his university there was a growing list of blacklisted words. It wasn’t clear whether the list was official or unofficial, simply professors trying to stay up with Identify Politics and avoid words that could lead to their dismissal. Power, they tell me, is elsewhere than in the white male, the true victimized class.
It must be difficult to teach some subjects, such as the «civil war» for example. How would it be possible to describe the actual facts, such as, for example, for decades prior to the Union’s invasion of the Confederacy there had been North/South political conflict over tariffs, not over slavery? 
The fight over which new states added from former «Indian» territories would be «slave» and which «free» was a fight over keeping the protectionist (North) vs. free trade (South) balance in Congress equal so that the budding industrial north could not impose a tariff regime. Two days before Lincoln’s inaugural address, a stiff tariff was signed into law. That same day in an effort to have the South accept the tariff and remain in or return to the Union—some southern states had seceded, some had not—Congress passed the Corwin amendment that provided constitutional protection to slavery. The amendment prohibited the federal government from abolishing slavery.
Two days later in his inaugural address, which seems to be aimed at the South, Lincoln said: «I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to interfere with the institution of slavery in the States where it exists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no inclination to do so».
Lincoln’s beef with the South was not over slavery or the Fugitive Slave Act. Lincoln did not accept the secessions and still intended to collect the tariff that now was law. Under the Constitution slavery was up to the states, but the Constitution gave the federal government to right to levy a tariff. Lincoln said that «there needs to be no bloodshed or violence» over collecting the tariff. Lincoln said he will use the government’s power only «to collect the duties and imposts», and that «there will be no invasion, no using of force against or among the people anywhere». 
Here is Lincoln, «the Great Emancipator», telling the South that they can have slavery if they will pay the duties and imposts on imports. How many black students and whites brainwashed by Identity Politics are going to sit there and listen to such a tale and not strongly protest the racist professor justifying white supremacy?
So what happens to history when you can’t tell it, but instead have to refashion it to fit the preconceived beliefs? The so-called «civil war», of course, is far from the only example.
In its document of secession, South Carolina made a case that the Constitutional contract had been broken by some of the northern states breaking faith with Article IV of the Constitution. This is true. However, it is also true that the Southern states had no inclination to abide by Section 8 of Article I, which says that «Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises». So, also the South by not accepting the tariff was not constitutionally pure.
Before history became politicized, historians understood that the North intended for the South to bear costs of the North’s development of industry and manufacturing. The agricultural South preferred the lower priced goods from England. The South understood that a tariff on British goods would push import prices above the high northern prices and lower the South’s living standards in the interest of raising living standards in the North. The conflict was entirely economic and had nothing whatsoever to do with slavery, which also existed in the North. Indeed, some northern states passed legislation prohibiting the immigration of blacks into the states.
If freeing slaves were important to the North and avoiding tariffs was important to the South, one can imagine some possible compromises. For example, the North could have committed to building factories in the South. As the South became industrialized, new centers of wealth would arise independently from the agricultural plantations that produced cotton exports. The labor force would adjust with the economy, and slavery would have evolved into free labor.
Unfortunately, there were too many hot heads. And so, too, today. 
In America there is nothing on the horizon but hate. Everywhere you look in America you see nothing but hate. Putin is hated. Russia is hated. Muslims are hated. Venezuela is hated. Assad is hated. Iran is hated. Julian Assange is hated. Edward Snowden is hated. White heterosexual males are hated. Confederate monuments are hated. Truth-tellers are hated. «Conspiracy theorists» are hated. No one escapes being hated.
We all hate each other, but, nevertheless the Zionist neoconservatives assure us that we are «the indispensable, exceptional people». We totally divided people have the right to rule the world and to bomb every country that doesn’t accept our rule into the stone age. 
In turn the world hates America, the country that according to all polls is the most despised and hated country on earth.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fundgrube an Gedanken: Artikel über "Ochlokratie"

Graffito am Donaukanal in Wien, 2013


Ochlokratie ist ein Begriff aus der antiken griechischen Staatstheorie, der vom Historiker Polybioseingeführt wurde. Polybios zufolge orientiert sich die Idealform der Demokratie am Gemeinwohl. Doch die Metamorphose von der Demokratie zur Ochlokratie, in welcher Eigennutz, hemmungsloses Anspruchsdenken, Habsucht und eine unerschöpfliche Vielfalt der Korruption ihren Triumphzug vollführen, lässt sich nicht vermeiden.
Grundsätzliche Überlegungen
Platonbegreift seine Zeit als einen Prozess des Niedergangs, der teils menschlich verursacht und teils durch das Schicksal gegeben ist.Mittels der Darstellung alter Mythen erhebt Platon jene Zeiten zu glücklichen, die von den Göttern begleitet wurden, während die sich selbst zum Maßstab erhebende Menschheit allmählich in völlige Depravation verfällt. Dies manifestiere sich im Übergang von der Herrschaft gerechter Eliten zu immer schlechteren Herrschaftsformen.
Im Gegensatz zu Platon beschrieb Polybios diesen Verfall nicht mehr mythisch, sondern als einen naturgesetzlichen Kreislauf, der die Staaten von der Monarchie über die Demokratie bis zur Ochlokratie bringt. Er meinte, dass die Demokratie anhält, solange noch Zeugen der Gewaltherrschaft der Oligarchen da sind. Denn diese stellen ihre Wertschätzung von Gleichheit und Redefreiheit über alles. Mit dem Heranwachsen einer neuen Generation hört die Hochschätzung dieser inzwischen zur Gewohnheit gewordenen Güter auf. Die Reichen versuchen, die Menge zu beeinflussen, nicht zuletzt durch Verschleuderung des Vermögens auf jede nur erdenkliche Weise, und die Menge gewöhnt sich schnell daran.
Machiavellibezeichnete als wichtigstes Indiz für den Verfall einer Kultur den Niedergang der Institutionen, vornehmlich der Religion.
Schon seit der Antike wird von einem göttlichen Urzustand gesprochen, welcher zu einer heroischen und schließlich menschlichen Periode führt, die allmählich in ein wissenschaftliches Zeitalter mündet. Dieser Stufe höchster Verfeinerung folgt ein sittlichen Verfall, welcher in die Ochlokratie mündet.
Edmund Burkesah in den sogenannten Menschenrechten eines der Übel der Aufklärung und der Französischen Revolution.Ihren Verfechtern warf er vor, Erfahrung als Weisheit ungelehrter Menschen zu verachten. Geschrei und Tadel dieser spekulativen Köpfe der Verkünder der Menschenrechte erhebe sich sofort, wenn sich die Staaten nicht nach ihren Theorien verhalten. Wenn der Mensch ein Recht auf alles hat, mangelt es ihm an allem. Die Verfechter der Menschenrechte sind so von ihren Theorien erfasst, dass sie den realen Menschen beiseite schieben.

Als Beispiel schildert Edmund Burke die Verhaftung Ludwigs XVI. und seiner Familie in Versailles.
Der einflussreiche Interpret der Geschichte Frankreichs, Jules Michelet, sah in der Tatsache, dem König Mitleid und Vergebung vorzuenthalten, den Hauptmakel der Revolution. Er meinte, dass nicht die Vernunft den Menschen auszeichne, sondern das Mitleid. Die jakobinische Schreckensherrschaft war der Tiefpunkt der Revolution. Sie glich einer Wüste, in der das Leben aufgehört hatte, oder den Gipfeln hoher Gebirge, auf denen eine äußerste Dürre herrscht. Das Mitleid war verstummt, das Grauen triumphierte.
Jules Michelet sah im Schmerz den Schlüssel zur Geschichte, denn sie ist eigentlich eine Leidensgeschichte, welche durch das Mitleid enthüllt wird.

Graffito am Donaukanal in Wien, 2013
1793 fand man an manchen Pariser Hausfassaden die Worte: Einheit, Unteilbarkeit der Republik, Freiheit, Gleichheit, Brüderlichkeit oder der Tod.
In vielen Ländern hat die sehr weit getriebene Emanzipation von gesellschaftlichen Vorgaben ein Reich der Trivialkultur entstehen lassen, für das es kein historisches Vorbild gibt. Damit einher geht der zu beobachtende Verfall verbindlicher Formen.
Aus dieser Geringschätzung von Tradition resultieren einerseits Stilverlust, andererseits aber ist eine Verrechtlichung festzustellen, welche alle Fragen des sozialen Umgangs betrifft.
Die eklatantesten Fehlentwicklungen im Europa des späten zwanzigsten und begonnenen einundzwanzigsten Jahrhundert sind die Geringschätzung der klassischen Allgemeinbildung und die daraus entstandene infantil-liberale Gesinnungstyrannei, der materialistische Konsumwahn und der damit einhergehende kleptokratische Wohlfahrtsstaat und der Verlust jedweder ernsthaften metaphysischen Dimension, welcher das Lügengebräu der Massenmedien zur Folge hat.
Heutzutage weiß man nicht mehr, was Ochlokratie ist. Und wenn, dann wäre es auch egal, denn ein großer Mythos der Gegenwart besagt, dass alle Menschen Bürger sind mit den gleichen Forderungen an den Staat, egal was man für die Allgemeinheit beiträgt oder ob man nichts tut. Mit dem Gleichheitswahn einher geht eine hemmungslose Reformierungssucht. Bildungsinstitutionen, Kulturpolitik und der Wohlfahrtsstaat werden so lange reformiert und simplifiziert, dass auch der Mindestbemittelte etwas davon hat.

Graffito am Donaukanal in Wien, 2013
Selbstbewusst und frei
Jahrhundertelang galt als selbstverständlicher Grundsatz für eine öffentliche Diskussion, eine Behauptung durch Vernunft zu bekräftigen oder zu widerlegen. Heute steht etwas anderes im Vordergrund und hat dieses alte Prinzip verdrängt. Heute gilt die Meinungsfreiheit, welche in den Rang unantastbarer Rechte erhoben wurde.
Im Gefolge dieser Akzentverschiebung dauerte es nicht lange, bis Beliebigkeit der Freiheit den Rang ablief. Das Ideal der Freiheit war früher mit den konkreten Inhalten der Bildung, der Kultur, der Gerechtigkeit und der Frömmigkeit verbunden.
Weil die Beliebigkeit es ablehnt, sich ernsthaft mit etwas auseinanderzusetzen, ist sie versessen auf eine merkwürdige Doppelerscheinung. Einerseits rennt man jeder Mode nach, seien es politische Phrasen oder Blockbuster der Filmindustrie, andrerseits fühlt man sich durch Kleinigkeiten gekränkt, weil man das eigene Ego verabsolutiert und erwartet, dass alle anderen dies fasziniert zu Kenntnis nehmen.
Viele Menschen neigen dazu, extrem selbstzentriert vom eigenen Selbstbild besessen zu sein. Hier in der Mitte Europas leben die Menschen in einem Luxus, von dem selbst Könige in der Vergangenheit nur träumen konnten. Doch wir nehmen das alles als selbstverständlich hin. Obwohl wir die wohlhabendsten und privilegiertesten Menschen sind, die je gelebt haben, obwohl wir mehr Freiheit haben – Gedankenfreiheit, Wahlfreiheit, Bewegungsfreiheit – als sie je eine Gruppe von Menschen in der Geschichte genossen hat, gibt es eine große Unzufriedenheit. Viele empfinden ihre Existenz als große Last. Die privilegiertesten Menschen in der Geschichte unserer Erde sind so zwanghaft von den Ängsten und Wünschen des Egos besessen, dass man zwar hemmungslos genießt, aber sich auch unendlich langweilt.
Heute hat die subjektive Erfahrung des Individuums eine herausragende Bedeutung erhalten. Es scheint, als hätten die Menschen jegliche Bindung an höhere oder tiefgründigere Prinzipien, die über die eigene direkte Erfahrung hinausgehen, verloren.
Daraus entsteht der vulgäre Charakter, der ungehemmt Abscheu, Erstaunen, Frohsinn oder Schadenfreude seine Umgebung spüren lässt. Seine Regungen entstehen nicht aus seiner autonomen Persönlichkeit. Nicht aus Unkenntnis, Gedankenlosigkeit oder Protest werden Manieren und Umgangsformen missachtet, sondern aus innerer Unfreiheit. Da viele keinen Abstand zu sich selbst haben, sind sie jeder Stimmungsschwankung ausgeliefert.
Der Pöbel verhält sich unanständig, unhöflich und taktlos. Nur zu gerne rechtfertigen sich die Verteidiger des Ordinären mit Hinweisen auf ihre Wahrhaftigkeit. Sich kein Blatt vor den Mund zu nehmen, stellen sie als Inbegriff persönlicher Geradlinigkeit dar.

Hieronymus Bosch, 1450 – 1516: Kreuztragung Christi, Detail
Nicht die Armut charakterisiert den Pöbel, sondern seine „Gesinnung“. Mit Pöbel ist nicht eine soziale Verortung charakterisiert, sondern eine Bezeichnung für ein ästhetisch und sittlich verrohtes Verhalten gemeint.
Bereits Baltasar Graciántadelte jenes Übermaß an Leidenschaft, ungeschicktem Eifer, unkluger Hast, törichter Leichtfertigkeit, vulgärer Übertreibung, Unbedachtsamkeit und sinnloser Eile als pöbelhafte Unklugheit.
Eine ungebändigte Begehrlichkeit der Masse wischt jede Distanz zur Seite. Ein Mangel an Stil und Vornehmheit ruiniert die Kultur und torpediert jede erhabene Kraft. Dieser Mangel wird verdeckt durch omnipräsente Werbung, durch die den Alltag beherrschenden Wegwerfprodukte und durch dümmlichen Boulevard-Journalismus.
Selbstbezogenheit und Zügellosigkeit sind Hauptmerkmale des pöbelhaften Menschen. Wenn vollständiges Fehlen von Manieren als „Stil“ akzeptiert wird, das großflächige Beschmieren von Gebäuden und U-Bahnen als „Kunst“ wahrgenommen wird, Tätowierungen und Piercings als Ausdruck der Selbstdarstellung ästhetisch gewürdigt werden, stellt sich die Frage nach den Ursachen dieses Kulturverfalls.
Die Hauptursache liegt wohl in der Vereinzelung der meisten Menschen. Der vulgäre Mensch vermag nur den eigenen Impulsen zu folgen, er kennt keine Selbstkritik und verbleibt in seiner Plumpheit. Vulgarität zerstört das Fundament des Sozialen.
Vulgär sind nicht bloß das Dahintreibenlassen des Körpers, das Gähnen und Grölen, Schmatzen und Schlürfen, Rülpsen und Furzen, das Gestammel in den meisten Rundfunksendern, öffentliche Entblößung oder die Enthüllung intimer Geheimnisse in den zahlreichen TV-Shows der Hemmungslosigkeit. Vulgarität will tendenziell verhindern, dass jemand ein höheres Niveau erreicht. Wer von niederen Instinkten getrieben ist, kann auch bei anderen nur niedere Beweggründe entdecken. Dies geschieht unter der Flagge der Freiheit und der Gleichheit. Brüderlich ist man zum Pöbel geworden.
Vielleicht haben diese Anmerkungen Züge des Missmutig-Unzufriedenen und der Vornehmtuerei und gehören ins Repertoire der laudatores temporis acti, vielleicht sind sie bloß Ausdruck der Sichtweise eines Alten, der nicht jung bleiben will, ganz sicher aber beklagen sie das Verkümmern jedweder Form von Selbstreflexion.



Friday, August 25, 2017

-possible-education-of-donald-trump/ Robert Parry

Exclusive: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is ratcheting up war tensions in Syria again, but President Trump reportedly is not happy with the threats as he shifts again toward resisting the neocons, writes Robert Parry.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

If War Comes, Don’t Blame the ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ – Things Are Even Worse Than You Think

If War Comes, Don’t Blame the ‘Military-Industrial Complex’ – Things Are Even Worse Than You Think

As the drumbeat intensifies for what might turn out to be anything but a «splendid little war» against North Korea, it is appropriate to take stock of the ongoing, seemingly successful effort to strip President Donald Trump of his authority to make any foreign and national security policies that fly against the wishes of the so-called Military-Industrial Complex, or MIC. A Google search for «Military-Industrial Complex» (in quotation marks) with «Trump» yields almost 450,000 hits from all sources and almost 26,000 from just news sources.
During the 2016 campaign and into the initial weeks of his administration, Trump was sometimes described as a threat to the MIC. But over time, with the appointment to his administration of more generals and establishment figures (including some allegedly tied to George Soroswhile purging Trump loyalists, it’s no surprise that his policies increasingly seem less a departure from those of previous administrations than a continuation of them (for example, welcoming Montenegro into NATO). Some now say that Trump is the MIC’s best friend and maybe always was. 
There are those who deny that the MIC exists at all. One self-described conservative blogger writing in the pro-war, pro-intervention, and mostly neoconservative National Review refers to the very existence of the MIC as a «myth» peddled by the «conspiracy-minded». Sure, it is conceded, it was appropriate to refer to such a concept back when President Dwight Eisenhower warned against it in 1961 upon his impending departure from the White House, because back then the military consumed some 10 percent of the American GDP. But now, when the percentage is nominally just 3.2 percent, less than $600 billion per year, the term supposedly is inapplicable. (There are those who argue that the real cost annually is over $1 trillion, but why quibble.) 
There is a germ of truth contained in the reference to money. Compared to the «wars of choice» that have characterized US global behavior since the end of the Cold War with the Soviet Union, the MIC of the 1950s and 1960s was relatively less likely to embark upon foreign military escapades. The existence of a world-class nuclear-armed foe in the form of the USSR moderated tendencies toward adventurism. The most serious «combat» the classic MIC preferred to engage in was inter-service battles for budgetary bounty. Reportedly, once General Curtis LeMay, head of the Air Force’s Strategic Air Command, was briefed by a junior officer who repeatedly referred to the USSR as «the enemy». LeMay supposedly interrupted to correct him: «Young man, the Soviet Union is our adversary. Our enemy is the Navy». 
But today the «Military-Industrial Complex» is an archaic term that doesn’t begin to describe the complexity and influence of current structures. Indeed, even in Eisenhower’s day the MIC was more than a simple duplex consisting of the Pentagon and military contractors but also included an essential third leg: the Congressional committees that provide the money constituting the MIC’s lifeblood. (Reportedly, an earlier draft of the speech used the term «military-industrial-Congressional» complex, a fuller description of what has come to be called the «Iron Triangle». Asked about the omission from the final text, Eisenhower is said to have answered: «It was more than enough to take on the military and private industry. I couldn't take on the Congress as well».) 
Not only did the Iron Triangle continue to expand during the Cold War, when production of military hardware established itself as the money-making nucleus of the MIC, it swelled to even greater proportions after the designated enemy, the USSR, went out of business in 1991. While for one brief shining moment there was naïve discussion of a «Peace Dividend» that would provide relief for American taxpayers from whose shoulders the burden of a «long twilight struggle» against communism (in John Kennedy’s phrase) had been lifted, that notion faded quickly. Instead, not only did the «hard» side of the MIC maintain itself – first in Iraq to fight «naked aggression» by Saddam Hussein in Kuwait, then in the Balkans in the 1990s as part of NATO’s determination to go «out of area or out of business» – it then branched out into «soft» areas of control.
In the past quarter century what began as Eisenhower’s MIC has become a multifaceted, hybrid entity encompassing an astonishing range and depth in both the public and private sectors. To a large extent, the contours of what former Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren has called the «Deep State» (which largely through Lofgren’s efforts has since become a household word) are those of the incestuous «expert» community that dominates mainstream media thinking but extend beyond it to include elements of all three branches of the US government, private business (especially the financial industry, government contractors, information technology), think tanks, NGOs (many of which are anything but «nongovernmental» but are funded by US official agencies and those of our «allies», satellites, and clients), higher education (especially the recipients of massive research grants from the Department of Defense), and the two political parties and their campaign operatives, plus the multitude of lobbyists, campaign consultants, pollsters, spin doctors, media wizards, lawyers, and other functionaries. 
Comparing the MIC of 1961 to its descendant, the Deep State of today, is like comparing a horse and buggy to a Formula One racecar. The Deep State’s principals enjoy power and privileges that would have brought a blush to the cheeks of members of the old Soviet nomenklatura, of which it is reminiscent. 
Indeed, the Deep State’s creepy resemblance to its late Soviet counterpart is manifest in its budding venture into the realm of seeking to brand domestic American dissent as treason, to the hearty approval of the loony Left. As described by Daniel McAdams of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity
‘The government would never compile, analyze, and target private news outlets just because they deviate from the official neocon Washington line.
‘Perhaps not yet. But some US government funded «non-governmental» organizations are already doing just that.
‘The German Marshall Fund has less to do with Germany these days than it did when founded after WWII as a show of appreciation for the US Marshall Fund. These days it’s mostly funded by the US government, allied governments (especially in the Russia-hating Baltics), neocon grant-making foundations, and the military-industrial complex. Through its strangely Soviet-sounding »Alliance for Securing Democracy» project it has launched something called «Hamilton 68: A New Tool to Track Russian Disinformation on Twitter».
‘This project monitors 600 Twitter accounts that the German Marshall Fund claims are «accounts that are involved in promoting Russian influence and disinformation goals». Which accounts does this monitor? It won’t tell us. How does it choose which ones to monitor? It won’t tell us. To what end? Frighteningly, it won’t tell us. 
‘How ironic that something called the German Marshall Fund is bringing Stasi-like tactics to silence alternative media and opinions in the United States!’
The Soviet nomenklatura gave up without a fight. It’s unlikely its American counterpart will. Whether Trump in the end decides to fight or to seek accommodation is still under debate. Some suggest that by signing the recent bill imposing sanctions on Russia, Iran, and North Korea, he has already surrendered. But either way, war or not, things are going to get very rocky.

Trump’s new strategy for Afghanistan is neither new, nor a strategy, nor Trump’s

A product not of consensus but of struggle.

For some time it has been clear that the White House of President Donald Trump was convulsed with a struggle among various court factions vying for the Emperor’s ear. Crudely oversimplified, these are variously described as:
1. The military «Junta» (Generals McMaster, National Security Council; Mattis, Pentagon; and Kelly, White House Chief of Staff;
2. The Goldman-Sachs «Globalists» (preeminently First Daughter Ivanka and First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner);
3. The «Populist-Nationalists» («the two Steves» Bannon and Miller); and
4. The Regular Republicans who, to their credit, in 2016 chose to join the Trump populist movement over more conventionally «conservative» GOP candidates (Former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway).
It is understood that the first two factions were generally allied against the second two. Following Priebus’s ouster, the bellwether would be who got tossed out next: Bannon or McMaster. It was Bannon.
On August 18, with Bannon’s defenestration, it became clear that the Junta and the Globalists were firmly in charge. The only outliers left – besides somebody named Trump – are Conway and Miller. We’ll see how long they last. Any of them.
The immediate impact of the Junta/Globalist victory in the internal struggle was renewed sharp rhetoric against North Korea (Bannon’s suggestion the there was no acceptable military option may have been one proximate cause of his ejection) and, even more so, Trump’s speech on Afghanistan on August 21 in front of a military audience.
Before addressing the specifics, it’s important to note that his remarks not only signaled a humiliating defeat of Trumpism within Trump’s own administration but reflected the damage done by the vicious attacks he has suffered for speaking the truth about events in Charlottesville. His offense: to affirm that responsibility for violence lay not only with the «white nationalists» but also with the armed Antifa «protesters» bent on attacking them. In fact, to anyone with a fair mind watching the TV coverage, it was clear that the violence overwhelmingly came from the latter, abetted by the evidently deliberate decision of Virginia Governor and likely 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Terry McAuliffe to withdraw police separation of the two sides and herd the nationalists up against Antifa.
While not mentioning Charlottesville by name, the entire beginning section of Trump’s Afghanistan speech – his first prime time televised address to the nation as president – stuck to a politically correct script, ritually intoning that «there is no room for prejudice, no place for bigotry, and no tolerance for hate.» (In yet another zigzag, the very next night, at a rally with cheering supporters in Phoenix, Trump read back aloud his previous comments on Charlottesville and denounced Antifa. The media, notably CNN, dissolved in a deranged fit of rage.)
As to what he now plans for Afghanistan:
It’s not new, it’s same-old same-old: Aside from a few Trumpish rhetorical flourishes, it was a speech that could have been given by President Hillary Clinton or President Jeb Bush. In substance, it was a rehash of the failures of Barack Obama and George W. Bush. Only a few details changed. He will loosen rules of engagement for U.S. forces, which among other things will mean more dead Afghans and more Taliban recruits. He will boost troop numbers but won’t tell the enemy – or the American people – by how many; the number 4,000 has been kicked around, but who knows. Finally, no timetables will «guide our strategy», just «conditions on the ground», but what those conditions need to be for us to finally get out are not described either. Nor is there any clue as to how boosting American numbers to about 13,000 will accomplish what 100,000 couldn’t.
«We will ask our NATO allies and global partners to support our new strategy with additional troop and funding increases in line with our own», said the President.  «We are confident they will.» Pure fantasy. On the other hand, Trump completely ignored Afghanistan’s record opium production. Evidently promising to stamp that out would be just too fantastical.
It’s not a strategy, it’s just a policy: One of the problems with being entirely guided by military men is their tendency to focus on their tactical tradecraft. Hopefully that’s something they’re good at. But their knowledge and skill, though vitally important, doesn’t of itself constitute a strategy. Or put another way, professional military men can tell a policymaker how to accomplish what he wants, but they can’t tell him what he wants. The result is a policy composed of various tactics that don’t add up to much of anything except more of what we’ve seen since 2001.
We will not engage in nation-building, said Trump, or tell Afghans how to live. This could mean no more nagging them over laws mandating the killing of apostates or about women’s rights. («Don’t throw acid in the face of little girls because they attend school. That’s not nice.») We weren’t doing much of that anyway, but now it’s official: Americans are fighting to make Afghanistan safe for Sharia. (Paradoxically, Trump was reportedly convinced that Afghanistan is not doomed to be a Hobbesian abode of savages by McMaster’s showing him a picture of mini-skirted Afghan female students from the 1970s. As Justin Raimondo points out, the good general surely neglected to mention the reason there are no more mini-skirts to be seen is because of our support, with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, for Osama bin Laden and his ilk. Mission accomplished!)
On the other hand, is it telling Afghans how to live when Trump promised to root out corruption? (What Americans are calling corruption is what in Afghanistan is usually just called «life.») Indeed, very little was said about what the Afghan government thinks about the «new» plan. But then again, we barely care what Seoul thinks about deploying the THAAD system in South Korea, so why should we ask the opinions of an Afghan government that wouldn’t last a week without American support? One is reminded of the Soviet-era quip that Afghanistan was the most peace-loving country in the world. Why? Because it doesn’t even interfere in its own internal affairs.
Regionally, Trump vowed to force Pakistan to stop providing safe haven for the Taliban (sure, that will work) and to get India more involved. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley said that in addition to «putting the pressure on Pakistan» Washington would «put the pressure on India that they have to be part of the political solution.» Just like we «pressure» North Korea, or «pressure» China on Korea and the South China Sea, and «pressure» Russia on Syria, Ukraine, what have you. Pressure, pressure, pressure! Doesn’t anyone in Washington know how to talk with anyone to seek common interests? Why no mention of the three regional powers – Russia, China, and Iran – that like India (but unlike Pakistan) don’t want an Afghanistan ruled by Salafists? Now that could be a strategy.
It’s not Trump’s policy, it’s the Swamp’s: Trump pretty much let the cat out of the bag when he conceded that his first impulse was to get out of Afghanistan. (Interestingly the reflexively pro-war Washington Post and National Review published calls for the U.S. to withdraw our forces, saying Trump’s earlier instinct was right! Be prepared for them to rip out his liver when things turn out badly.) But then Trump talked with the big boys with the short haircuts who explained the facts of life to him. He seems to have bought the Swamp’s line that because Obama «hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq» the result was ISIS. Nonsense. ISIS came into being because (a) we invaded Iraq in the first place and (b) for years Obama armed terrorists seeking to overthrow the government of Syria, continuing a policy in place since the 1980s Afghanistan war against the USSR. Given such assumptions, the most optimistic hope is for a «surge» like that in Iraq in 2007, which at least superficially stabilized Anbar province and Baghdad. Again, very optimistically, that could provide cover for us to withdraw our forces. More likely, given the fear of «hastily and mistakenly» withdrawing Obama-style, we will stay for an indefinite period amounting to a permanent occupation. After all, look how long we’ve been successfully stabilizing Germany, Japan, and South Korea!
The sad fact is that Trump almost certainly knows all this, at least on a gut level. What exactly the exact political alchemy is that has led him to this juncture is open for speculation. But what is not speculative is the grim fact that whether or not this is Trump’s policy, Afghanistan is now Trump’s war.