During President Obama’s second term, the existence of a so-called ‘Deep State’ was becoming an accepted reality in media circles. Indeed, many Americans wanted to believe in nefarious, unseen forces that could explain away Obama’s warmongering. Now under Trump, the idea that unelected bureaucrats could control our government elicits cries of ‘conspiracy theory’ from corporate media and Hollywood opinion-makers.
The term Deep State is a catch-all for the powerful people in the military-industrial complex , which President Eisenhower warned in 1961 was a “potential enemy of the national interest”. More recently, these powers helped mislead George Bush the Younger into war, and convinced Obama to expand those wars.
Bill Moyers’ website published “Anatomy of the Deep State” in 2014, written by a 28-year Congressional staffer with top-level security clearance. Mike Lofgren connected the Pentagon, State Department, Homeland Security, CIA, Treasury, Wall Street and Silicon Valley with their shared interest in the war machine. He noted while Republican obstructionism rendered Obama virtually impotent on every issue, all things military passed without opposition.
“Within the United States, this power is characterized by massive displays of intimidating force by militarized federal, state and local law enforcement,” wrote Lofgren. “Abroad, President Obama can start wars at will and engage in virtually any other activity whatsoever without so much as a by-your-leave from Congress.”
The Huffington Post published “The Deep State is a Very Real Thing” in March of last year, ahead of Politico’s piece in September, “The Deep State is Real”. History makes it hard to deny the reality that unelected officials wield tremendous power to make policy and pressure presidents.
Notorious warmonger Henry Kissinger is almost 95 now. Kissinger still counsels the Trump White House on foreign policy, and boasts he’s had the ear of nine presidents — even though his policies helped kill millions around the world, and he’s never been elected to anything.
Gerald Ford became vice president and president even though he wasn’t elected to either position. Ford was appointed to the White House thanks in part to his toe-the-line work on the Warren Commission investigating JFK’s assassination. When he inherited the presidency, Ford appointed George Bush the Elder to run the CIA, and also added Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney to his inner circle.
So who could argue with the basic idea of a Deep State? The answer is virtually all of America’s most relied-upon news sources. Now that President Trump is hammering home the Deep State concept, the establishment media are no longer willing to buy in. Quite the contrary, major media are falling back on all-too-familiar tactics of distorting the argument to make it laughably absurd, and calling names.
To cite just a few examples, CNN has alleged Trump is claiming a “secret cabal” and “shadow government conspiracy” are plotting against him. Newsweek says Trump claims a “conspiracy theory about a cadre of longtime government officials pulling the levers behind the scenes”. The New Yorker called the Deep State concept “the new villain of right-wing paranoia.”
That last rant raises the biggest red flag of all, when the best arguments pretend liberals have to offer amount to telling me my radical-left educated reasoning is really right-wing paranoia. The Nation offers better perspective and nuance here. An article from NYU history professor Greg Grandin makes the compelling case that Trump’s wild-card status, coupled with competing interests inside the Deep State itself, caused chaos in the establishment ranks.
“Big Oil and Wall Street might want deregulation and an opening to Russia. The euphemistically titled ‘intelligence community’ wants a ramped-up war footing. High-tech wants increased trade. Trump, who presents as pure id wrapped in ambition moved by appetite, wants it all—which makes him both potentially useful and inherently unstable, simultaneously a product and target of the Deep State.”
The Nation piece doesn’t doubt the existence of the Deep State. In fact, it makes the case for it and provides a bibliography to back it up, with books including David Talbot’s “The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and the Rise of America’s Secret Government”, Tim Weiner’s “Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA”, and Engelbrecht and Hanighen’s “Merchants of Death: A Study of the International Armament Industry”, the latter published in 1934.
So we can believe the reasoned and rational arguments backed by evidence and history, or we can listen to the sellouts in corporate media and the Hollywood hysteria from the likes of Ellen DeGeneres and Whoopi Goldberg, who recently suggested the mere fact Trump is still President disproves the existence of a Deep State.
Interestingly, Goldberg’s show “The View” reframed the debate when she defined Deep State, via teleprompter, as “a conspiracy theory that government employees loyal to Obama and Hillary are working behind the scenes to derail (Trump’s) presidency”. It’s no wonder Whoopi laughed the whole way through reading that nonsense, but it’s hard to know exactly why she was laughing. She’s a really good actress.
The big-picture motivations behind this ever-evolving masquerade of misinformation remain somewhat elusive. Certainly an ongoing effort exists to discredit all facts not flowing from official sources and sanctioned media outlets, but this is hardly new.
In my last Ghion Journal article I expressed confidence Trump would be a survivor. The Nation piece referenced here has another angle to consider. The story quotes a tweet from former NSA intelligence analyst John Schindler, who says a friend in the “intelligence community” tells him Trump “will die in jail”.
Given what Trump has said about the CIA and the FBI in the past, that outcome shouldn’t surprise me at all either. In the meantime, I’m going to continue believing this is all one big game designed to suck the most blood out of everyday Americans as possible.
Trump is the perfect evil poster boy for the establishment. The media can blame him while they garner record ratings and profits. And the Deep State is getting everything it needs out of Trump too—including mass surveillance, arms sales and endless wars. The same people who cunningly pushed Obama as change now give us a strawman Trump to fix all eyes on one man as they continue pillaging us. The status quo stays winning through subterfuge. #StrawPOTUS
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