February 13, 2016

Crisis: Kissinger, Hillary Clinton, Bill Clinton, MLK Jr., The American Deep State
Sections                                                                     crisis index    

Henry Kissinger’s War Crimes Are Central to the Divide
     Between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

2. Sanders Slams Clinton's Admiration for "Destructive"
     Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

The ‘Clinton Bubble’: How Clinton Democrats Fostered
     the 2008 Economic Crisis

4. Reality Check for Democrats: Would Martin Luther King
     Be Supporting Bernie?

Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

This is a Nederlog of Saturday, February 13, 2016.

This is a crisis blog. There are 5 items with 6 dotted links, and I think at least three articles are quite interesting (and should be read in full): Item 1 is about Henry Kissinger war crimes: He merely had 3 million of men, women and chlidren murdered, but Hillary Clinton likes and admires him; item 2 is about a difference of opinion between Sanders and Clinton about Kissibger, where Sanders clearly gives evidence, while Clinton totally avoids the question; item 3 is about Bill Clinton, who in fact is the BIG deregulator of the American economy, which is outlined in two excellent articles by Robert Scheer; item 4 is about Martin Luther King Jr, including some quotes, and strongly supports the thesis that he would have supported Bernie Sanders, had he lived; and item 5 is another excellent article by Chuck Spinney about a recent book by Mike Lofgren,
The Deep State", that I will try to buy.

Also, I should add that I am sorry that the present Nederlog is a bit worse than the one I planned and had partially written, but I again ran into the - quite awful - tricks and shortcomings of KompoZer, and had to do it twice. [1]

1. Henry Kissinger’s War Crimes Are Central to the Divide Between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders

This first
item is by Dan Froomkin on The Intercept: 

This starts as follows:

The sparring during Thursday’s Democratic presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders over whether Henry Kissinger is an elder statesman or a pariah has laid bare a major foreign policy divide within the Democratic Party.

Clinton and Sanders stand on opposite sides of that divide. One represents the hawkish Washington foreign policy establishment, which reveres and in some cases actually works for Kissinger. The other represents the marginalized non-interventionists, who can’t possibly forgive someone with the blood of millions of brown people on his hands.

In fact, this article, which is quite good and recommended, is mostly about Kissinger. I skip a fair amount of reported discussion between Sanders and Clinton (see the article in case you are interested) and turn to him:

And now, some background about Kissinger.

Greg Grandin, a history professor at New York University, just published a timely book called Kissinger’s Shadow: The Long Reach of America’s Most Controversial Statesman. In an article in The Nation last week, “Henry Kissinger, Hillary Clinton’s Tutor in War and Peace,” he offered this pithy summary:

This does look interesting, simply because Grandin knows a lot. Here is one summary of Grandin, here restricted to Kissinger's Nixon-years:

Let’s consider some of Kissinger’s achievements during his tenure as Richard Nixon’s top foreign policy–maker. He (1) prolonged the Vietnam War for five pointless years; (2) illegally bombed Cambodia and Laos; (3) goaded Nixon to wiretap staffers and journalists; (4) bore responsibility for three genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, and Bangladesh; (5) urged Nixon to go after Daniel Ellsberg for having released the Pentagon Papers, which set off a chain of events that brought down the Nixon White House; (6) pumped up Pakistan’s ISI, and encouraged it to use political Islam to destabilize Afghanistan; (7) began the U.S.’s arms-for-petrodollars dependency with Saudi Arabia and pre-revolutionary Iran; (8) accelerated needless civil wars in southern Africa that, in the name of supporting white supremacy, left millions dead; (9) supported coups and death squads throughout Latin America; and (10) ingratiated himself with the first-generation neocons, such as Dick Cheney and Paul Wolfowitz, who would take American militarism to its next calamitous level. Read all about it in Kissinger’s Shadow!

Next there is this on the number of people who got killed because of Kissinger's many initiatives:

A full tally hasn’t been done, but a back-of-the-envelope count would attribute 3, maybe 4 million deaths to Kissinger’s actions, but that number probably undercounts his victims in southern Africa. Pull but one string from the current tangle of today’s multiple foreign policy crises, and odds are it will lead back to something Kissinger did between 1968 and 1977. Over-reliance on Saudi oil? That’s Kissinger. Blowback from the instrumental use of radical Islam to destabilize Soviet allies? Again, Kissinger. An unstable arms race in the Middle East? Check, Kissinger. Sunni-Shia rivalry? Yup, Kissinger. The impasse in Israel-Palestine? Kissinger. Radicalization of Iran?  “An act of folly” was how veteran diplomat George Ball described Kissinger’s relationship to the Shah. Militarization of the Persian Gulf?  Kissinger, Kissinger, Kissinger.

I say. I never liked him, but being responsible for - say - 3 million deaths makes one half an Eichmann, except that Kissinger killed different kinds of
persons (mostly colored) than Eichmann did (mostly white Jews). But 3
killed is half of the number Eichmann had killed (both as admini-
: the actual murders were done by others, but on their instructions).

Also, it is not only about Kissinger: It is also about Hillary Clinton:

The continuing role Kissinger plays in modern foreign policy is perfectly illustrated by Hillary Clinton, his longtime fan and friend. Just recently, in November, she reviewed Kissinger’s latest book, World Order, for the Washington Post. There’s a summary of that here.

Clinton called it “vintage Kissinger, with his singular combination of breadth and acuity along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines.” She wrote that “his analysis, despite some differences over specific policies, largely fits with the broad strategy behind the Obama administration’s effort over the past six years to build a global architecture of security and cooperation for the 21st century.”

I say. Incidentally, "his singular combination of breadth and acuity along with his knack for connecting headlines to trend lines" is merely verbal bullshit, but I take it that Hillary is quite correct in saying that Kissinger's "analysis" is - also - at the basis of "the Obama administration's" many efforts.

There is considerably more in the article, which is recommended, and which also shows something is rather odd in Washington, when a Democratic presidential candidate takes big pride in being friends with the Republican murderer (by commands) of - at least - three million men, women and children.

2. Sanders Slams Clinton's Admiration for "Destructive" Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

The second item is by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! and also is about Kissinger, Clinton and Sanders:
This starts as follows:
During Thursday’s Democratic debate, Bernie Sanders picked up on a point that Hillary Clinton made during last week’s face-off in New Hampshire about her admiration for former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. "She talked about getting the approval or the support or the mentoring of Henry Kissinger," Sanders said. "Now, I find it rather amazing, because I happen to believe that Henry Kissinger was one of the most destructive secretaries of state in the modern history of this country. … I am proud to say that Henry Kissinger is not my friend. I will not take advice from Henry Kissinger."
See the first item for considerably more on Kissinger. But in fact Bernie Sanders said more (see immediately below) and then was "answered" as follows:

And, in fact, Kissinger’s actions in Cambodia, when the United States bombed that country, overthrew Prince Sihanouk, created the instability for Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge to come in, who then butchered some 3 million innocent people—one of the worst genocides in the history of the world. So, count me in as somebody who will not be listening to Henry Kissinger.

GWEN IFILL: Secretary Clinton?

HILLARY CLINTON: Well, I know journalists have asked who you do listen to on foreign policy, and we have yet to know who that is.

That is, if you are Hillary Clinton your reply to the statement that you are a friend, an admirer and a supporter of someone who is responsible for the state of affairs in which three million men, women and children got killed is ...
'tell me who you rely on in foreign policy'.

This is not an answer but it is an evasion, but then indeed she also did not deny she admires one of the greatest - administrative - mass murderers of the 20th Century.

3. The ‘Clinton Bubble’: How Clinton Democrats Fostered the 2008 Economic Crisis

The third item is by Robert Scheer (<- Wikipedia) on Truthdig:

As stated, these are in fact two articles, both taken from or based on Scheer's "The Great American Stickup", that was published in 2010 (when I missed it).

The first article - from which I take most quotes - is from 2010, the second
from 2016.

Both articles are recommended. The first starts as follows:

They did it.

Yes, there is a “they”: the captains of finance, their lobbyists, and allies among leading politicians of both parties, who together destroyed an American regulatory system that had been functioning splendidly for most of the six decades since it was enacted in the 1930s.

“They” will emerge largely unscathed—indeed, likely wealthier—from exploiting the newfound bargains in foreclosed properties and bankrupt businesses that this turmoil provides to those with access to ready cash. And even as they make taxpayers foot the bill for their grievous greed and errors, they are eager to cover their tracks and unwilling to accept responsibility for the damage done.
Here is another summary:

This was a giant hustle that served the richest of the rich and left the rest of us holding the bag, a life-altering game of musical chairs in which the American public was the one forced out. Worst of all, legislators from both political parties we elect and pay to protect our interests from the pirates who assaulted us instead changed our laws to enable them.

I think - judging six years later, with a lot more knowledge than I had in 2010 - this is quite correct: The American public was frauded in a very major way, that impoverished many millions.

Here is part of the explanation for what really happened:

The most pathetic of excuses is the one provided by Robert Rubin, who fathered “Rubinomics,” the economy policy of President Clinton’s two-term administration: The economy ran into a “perfect storm,” a combination of unforeseen but disastrously interrelated events. This rationalization is all too readily accepted by the mass media, which is not surprising, given that it neatly absolves the majority of business reporters and editors who had missed the story for years until it was too late.

The facts are otherwise. It is not conspiratorial but rather accurate to suggest that blame can be assigned to those who consciously developed and implemented a policy of radical financial deregulation that led to a global recession. As President Clinton’s Treasury secretary, Rubin, the former cochair of Goldman Sachs, led the fight to free the financial markets from regulation and then went on to a $15-million-a-year job with Citigroup, the company that had most energetically lobbied for that deregulation. He should remember the line from the old cartoon strip Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us."

Precisely: It was all a matter of design rather "a perfect storm" and most of the design consisted in systematic deregulations that were advertised as
'free market' but that served to enrich the very rich much more, and took the money to do so from everybody else (and yes: Rubin knew exactly what he did and whom he did it for: the very rich, and only the very rich).

But Rubin did not do it alone: Other major deregulators were Alan Greenspan,
and Lawrence Summers:

For it was this Wall Street and Democratic Party darling, along with his clique of economist super-friends—Alan Greenspan, Lawrence Summers, and a few others—who inflated a giant real estate bubble by purposely not regulating the derivatives market, resulting in oceans of money that was poured into bad loans sold as safe investments. In the process, they not only caused an avalanche of pain and misery when the bubble inevitably burst but also shredded the good reputation of the American banking system nurtured since the Great Depression.

In fact, the American banking system was transformed by deregulation:

This freed the biggest speculators and frauds to do what they wanted, served by
propaganda, lies, deceptions and total judicial freedom to do anything they
wanted, because "they were too big to fail" (according to their partner in major crimes Eric Holder).

Was Bush Jr. to blame? Yes, but not by as much as the factual deregulators
Reagan and Bill Clinton:

Yet while Bush did nothing to remedy the problem, and his response was to simply reward the culprits, the roots of this disaster go back much further, to the free-market propaganda of the Reagan years and, most damagingly, to the bipartisan deregulation of the banking industry undertaken with the full support of “liberal” President Clinton. Yes, Clinton. And if this debacle needs a name, it should most properly be called “the Clinton bubble,” as difficult as it may be to accept for those of us who voted for him.

Incidentally: This is also why you should vote for Hillary Clinton, if you want
to see the very rich grow a whole lot richer yet again (and the 99% grow a lot
poorer, again).
Here is an outline of how deregulation worked (and note this was also combined with frauds and deceptions - which all were, of course, 'too big to fail', or to punish, or to prosecute, all according to Eric Holder):

Traditional banks freed by the dissolution of New Deal regulations became much more aggressive in investing deposits, snapping up financial services companies in a binge of acquisitions. These giant conglomerates then bet long on a broad and limitless expansion of the economy, making credit easy and driving up the stock and real estate markets to unseen heights. Increasingly complicated yet wildly profitable securities —especially so-called over-the-counter derivatives (OTC), which, as their name suggests, are financial instruments derived from other assets or products—proved irresistible to global investors, even though few really understood what they were buying. Those transactions in suspect derivatives were negotiated in markets that had been freed from the obligations of government regulation and would grow in the year 2009 to more than $600 trillion.

Beginning in the early ‘90s, this innovative system for buying and selling debt grew from a boutique, almost experimental, Wall Street business model to something so large that, when it collapsed a little more than a decade later, it would cause a global recession. Along the way, only a few people possessed enough knowledge and integrity to point out that the growth and profits it was generating were, in fact, too good to be true.

This started as "a boutique" in the early nineties, but it was soon fanned into an enormous financial fire by successive deregulations, that again were covered by Alan Greenspan's - quite false, but widely believed - assurances that he controlled the economy and that everything was very, very fine indeed.

To end this brief but adequate review of deregulations, here is THE deregulator of all, Bill Clinton:

Clinton’s role was decisive in turning Ronald Reagan’s obsession with an unfettered free market into law. Reagan, that fading actor recast so effectively as great propagandist for the unregulated market—“get government off our backs” was his patented rallying cry—was far more successful at deregulating smokestack industries than the financial markets. It would take a new breed of “triangulating” technocrat Democrats to really dismantle the carefully built net designed, after the last Great Depression, to restrain Wall Street from its pattern of periodic self-immolations. ...

Clinton betrayed the wisdom of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal reforms that capitalism needed to be saved from its own excess in order to survive, that the free market would remain free only if it was properly regulated in the public interest.
Yes, indeed - and he did it all very willingly and also, with his IQ of over 150, was quite conscious about what he did, why he did it, and who he did it for: Himself - to be paid after 2000 - and his very rich "peers" from the major banks, who would pay him a very easy major fortune for his services, and who did.

In any case, these are two very fine articles that I strongly recommend you read all of (especially the first article):

They are very clear about what I discovered mostly by myself, namely the utter centrality of deregulation in the run-up to the crisis of 2008, which still continues, this time because the very rich refuse to stop deregulation, refuse any restrictions on the banks, and also refuse the making of large economical investments: Austerity keeps the millions of poor that the very rich made poor, and that is how they want it - extreme amounts of money for the very few; little or no money for the - quite inferior - rest.

4. Reality Check for Democrats: Would Martin Luther King Be Supporting Bernie?

The fourth item is by Jeff Cohen on AlterNet:

This starts as follows:

Corporate mainstream media have sanitized and distorted the life and teachings of Martin Luther King Jr., putting him in the category of a “civil rights leader” who focused narrowly on racial discrimination; end of story. 

Missing from the story is that Dr. King was also a tough-minded critic of our capitalist economic structure, much like Bernie Sanders is today.

The reality is that King himself supported democratic socialism – and that civil rights activists and socialists have walked arm-in-arm for more than a century.

Yes, indeed - as in fact I knew from the middle 60ies onwards. Here are two quotes (from quite a few more in the article) that make Martin Luther King Jr.'s position quite clear.

In 1966 he said:

“You can’t talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can’t talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You’re really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry. . . . It really means that we are saying something is wrong with capitalism. There must be a better distribution of wealth, and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism.”
Incidentally, he also said "maybe" and "a democratic socialism" (bolding added) both of which are sound by mylights, if only because "democratic socialism" is not very clear (especially not - for this well-informed European - in the USA).

In 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. said:

“We must recognize that we can’t solve our problem now until there is a radical redistribution of economic and political power.  ... this means a revolution of values and other things. We must see now that the evils of racism, economic exploitation and militarism are all tied together . . . you can’t really get rid of one without getting rid of the others - the whole structure of American life must be changed.”
In case you disagree (as you may): It certainly is a fact that not radically redistributing "economic and political power" did not help the black. And no, I am not saying that redistributing these powers would have helped the black (still a minority, for one thing) - all I am saying it is that not doing it did not help.

Here is the end of the article:

With income inequality even greater now than during Martin Luther King’s final years, is there much doubt that King would be supporting the progressive domestic agenda of Bernie Sanders?

Before Bernie was making these kinds of big economic reform proposals, King was making them – but mainstream media didn’t want to hear them at the time . . . or now.

Yes, though indeed I had no doubt that Martin Luther King would have supported Bernie Sanders. But it is good to have some quotes.

And this is a recommended article.

5. Deconstructing America’s ‘Deep State’

The fifth and last item for today is by Chuck Spinney on Consortiumnews:

This starts as follows, and is a quite interesting article you should read in full:

Just about everyone knows something is dangerously wrong with our nation’s political system. There is a growing awareness that the United States is drifting blindly into a state of greater inequality, stagnation, oligarchy and perpetual war, with a ruling establishment that neither responds to the will of the people nor to the problems our nation faces.

For evidence of this pervasive sense of unease, look no further than the 2016 presidential election, where a bombastic celebrity billionaire and a crusty grandfatherly democratic socialist are claiming the political system is rigged and are driving the scions of the status quo into the rubber room — at least for now.

This was just the introduction. Here is some about the author of "The Deep State":

Mike Lofgren has written a timely exegesis of that status quo and its staying power. He makes it easier for any concerned citizen to understand the realities of the political and constitutional crises now facing the United States — and perhaps even improve the reader’s sense for the madness and anger that now characterizes 2016 presidential election.

Chuck Spinney also warns his readers that he Lofgren is "a long-time colleague and a close friend" and gives this background:

It grew out of a stunning essay – “Anatomy of the Deep State” (February 2014) — that Lofgren produced at the request of journalist Bill Moyers. Lofgren has written a tour de force that takes the reader on a wild ride through a swamp of confusion and disorder that reeks of corruption. His writing is at once witty and particular, but also general and prescriptive.

Before I go on, something about the deep state (<- Wikipedia). This is from the last linked lemma: The concept originated in Turkey, and has since been broadened, and amounts to the following (according to Wikipedia):

The notion of deep state is similar to that of a "state within the state". For those who believe in its existence, the political agenda of the deep state involves an allegiance to nationalism, corporatism, and state interests. Violence and other means of pressure have historically been employed in a largely covert manner to manipulate political and economic elites and ensure specific interests are met within the seemingly democratic framework of the political landscape.

I am one of "those who believe in its existence", were it only because

(i) extremely much about the doings of any national state I know anything about (including the USA, Great Britain, Holland and Norway) are kept secret; (ii) there are quite a few decisions taken in these and other nations that cannot
be accounted for by known politics and known economics; and also
(iii) one would assume anyway (and I know this is a fact) that very strong interest groups would try to get into government (and especially the big bankers, the "military-industrial complex", and "big oil" have gotten into
the American governments, indeed by "revolving doors", as if this were a matter of course).

Then again, simply because this is - in part, at least - a government behind the
elected government, which itself has not been elected, and which is mostly not talked about, it is not clear what "the deep state" is or may be for any specific country.

But here is a considerable amount of clarity:

Lofgren’s analysis centers on how the looting operations of three mutually reinforcing “pillars” (my word) of the contemporary American Deep State evolved over time. These “pillars” are themselves self-organizing groupings of coincident interests that work to insensibly co-opt and exploit the fissures in the mechanistic distribution of power designed into the Constitution by James Madison.

These emergent groupings form what some essayists have called an “iron triangle” of capitalists in the private sector and professional bureaucrats as well as elected officials in the legislative and executive branches of government, as well as in the menageries inhabited by hangers on, wannabees, journalists, and parasites feeding off the triangular host.

These triangles are energized by money flows and influence peddling, and their operations are lubricated by a maze of revolving doors that enable the individual players to climb the greasy pole to power and riches by moving freely back and forth from one corner to another — all the while pumping the money and propaganda needed by the triangle to survive and grow — on its own terms!

This helps some, while the following figure adds a lot:

Figure 1 is my simplified schematic outlining the basic features of an iron triangle.

clicking the image goes to the source

There is this in additional explanation:

Lofgren’s analysis takes us around three triangles by examining the maze of living relationships making up (1) the triangular money pumping operations of the Military-Industrial- Congressional Complex, as well as the more subtle looting and power grabbing operations of (2) the de-regulating scams of Big Finance and (3) the big-brother spying operations of the pseudo-libertarian hyper-capitalists of Silicon Valley.

To be sure, there are many other iron triangles that Lofgren does not discuss in great detail (e.g., Big Pharma, Big AG and the food supply, etc.), but his story is clear enough and sufficiently broad enough to make the larger argument.

Yes, indeed: What you see is just one iron triangle out of many more, though the above one is central.

Here is a precisification by Chuck Spinney:

While Lofgren does not say so, I would argue there are growing signs that the emerging American political economy combines many elements of classical fascism and corporatism with neoliberal laissez-faire economics into something that is new and peculiarly American — a political economy that exhibits fascist tendencies, but unlike classical fascism, subordinates the state to neoliberal corporatist interests, while it exploits many of fascism’s authoritarian organizing principles to stabilize the emerging status quo.

I quite agree. There is considerably more in the article, including another very
clear graphic, but I leave that to your interests, after saying again that this is a quite interesting article that you ought to read in full.


[1] There also is nothing but KompoZer as a WYSIWYG html-editor on Ubuntu, where it now seems to be removed as well. Well... this is a major shortcoming of Ubuntu, for the least I should be able to do is to write my own html for my own large site.

I do it with KompoZer because I have no choice, but this is pretty awful at times, also because there is nothing predictable about its mistakes, oddities, and awful missers, which include not (even) storing the place in the text where one is, when one goes to another page: Going back finds one at the start of the file, nearly always. (Just this bug cost me many hours over the last 5 years.)

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