What Trump Is Learning From His Presidency

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

It is now clear that Donald Trump had never cared about public policy except to the extent it affected his own bottom line as a businessman, and that he’s only now starting, as the U.S. President, to think about ideology, and about public policy, and about what the functions of government are and what they ought to be, and how they can most efficiently be carried out in policy. He’s in a learning-mode, now, more than a doing-mode. So: what is he actually learning?

Back on 27 February 2017, after already more than a month as President, he said “Nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,” and that “I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject.” For him, as someone who never had really thought about it before, this fact (the need for authentic expertise in the interests of the public, not of himself) came as an unpleasant shock — after already several weeks in the White House.

He has made clear that he’ll be happy to sign anything that Republicans in the U.S. Senate and House can have enough agreement with each other about so as to get onto his desk for him to sign into law.

⇒ Keep Reading

4 Comments

When We Can No Longer Tell the Truth…

When we can no longer tell the truth because the truth will bring the whole rotten, fragile status quo down in a heap of broken promises and lies, we’ve reached the perfection of dysfunction.

You know the one essential guideline to “leadership” in a doomed dysfunctional system: when it gets serious, you have to lie. In other words, the status quo’s secular goddess is TINA–there is no alternative to lying, because the truth will bring the whole corrupt structure tumbling down.

This core dynamic of dysfunction is scale-invariant, meaning that hiding the truth is the core dynamic in dysfunctional relationships, households, communities, enterprises, cities, corporations, states, alliances, nations and empires: when the truth cannot be told because it threatens the power structure of the status quo, that status quo is doomed.

Lies, half-truths and cover-ups are all manifestations of fatal weakness. What lies, half-truths and cover-ups communicate is: we can no longer fix our real problems, and rather than let this truth out, we must mask it behind lies and phony reassurances.

Truth is power, lies are weakness. All we get now are lies, statistics designed to mislead and phony reassurances that the status quo is stable and permanent. The truth is powerful because it is the core dynamic of solving problems. Lies, gamed statistics and false reassurances are fatal because they doom any sincere efforts to fix what’s broken before the system reaches the point of no return.
⇒ Keep Reading

8 Comments

Trillions of Dollars in U.S. Military Spending Is Unaccounted-For

Eric Zuesse

First, a tip of the hat to Carl Herman for his having linked on July 19th to Catherine Austin Fitts’ recent placing on her site key records from the U.S. Department of Defense regarding the astounding level of uninvestigated waste at the Pentagon. (Carl’s article is here: http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/07/documentation-us-dept-defense-admitting-losing-6-5-trillion-65000-per-average-us-family-18-year-history-losing-trillions-01-illegal-rogue.html and it goes into many other issues as well.) Having looked at that, I will be focusing in more closely, on some of the shocking statements that are made in those documents, and on the role that the newsmedia should be playing in publicizing this scandal, and posing some questions as to why they’re not doing that, because this failure by the U.S. ‘news’ media is very perplexing to me:

Now, and for many decades past, the American public has displayed far higher confidence and trust in “The Military” than in any other “Institution” (including than churches, schools, the Presidency, the police, courts — any).

And yet — according to the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Defense — many billions, and sometimes even trillions, of dollars, in the Department’s periodic financial reports, are not documented. What has happened to the taxpayers’ money is unknown — it’s missing (alleged to have been spent, but to payees unidentified).

⇒ Keep Reading

12 Comments

America’s Invasion of Syria

Will it finally end now?

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

The U.S. government has invaded and occupies Syria to overthrow its President, Bashar al-Assad and also to destroy ISIS, which is one of the jihadist organizations that are (like the U.S.) trying to defeat Syria’s government forces (Assad’s forces). The U.S. government has been supporting the ‘rebels’ (tens of thousands of imported foreign jihadists who aren’t ISIS but who are instead allied with or led by Al Qaeda) against the nation’s internationally recognized legal secular (non-religious) government.

The only two U.S. Senators who are at all disturbed that the U.S. has violated both U.S. law and international law by having our soldiers and weapons invade Syria, are the two libertarians, Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Even they — the Senate’s two libertarians — don’t care about America’s violation of international law by America’s invasion and occupation of Syria; even they care only about our government’s violation of the U.S. Constitution. Even they do not challenge America’s right to violate international law (which wasn’t even an issue in that Senate vote).

The other 98 U.S. Senators don’t object, at all, to the U.S. government’s invasion into, and occupation of, Syria; they don’t object to this government’s violation of international law, and they (the other 98) also don’t care about its violation of the U.S. Constitution.

⇒ Keep Reading

9 Comments

The Death Spiral of Financialization

The primary driver of our economy–financialization–is in a death spiral. Financialization substitutes expansion of interest, leverage and speculation for real-world expansion of goods, services and wages.

Financial “wealth” created by leveraging more debt on a base of real-world collateral that doesn’t actually produce more goods and services flows to the top of the wealth-power pyramid, driving the soaring wealth-income inequality we see everywhere in the global economy.

As this phantom wealth pours into assets such as stocks, bonds and real estate, it has pushed the value of these assets into the stratosphere, out of reach of the bottom 95% whose incomes have stagnated for the past 16 years.

The core problem with financialization is that it requires ever more extreme policies to keep it going. These policies are mutually reinforcing, meaning that the total impact becomes geometric rather than linear. Put another way, the fragility and instability generated by each new policy extreme reinforces the negative consequences of previous policies.

These extremes don’t just pile up like bricks–they fuel a parabolic rise in systemic leverage, debt, speculation, fragility, distortion and instability.

This accretive, mutually reinforcing, geometric rise in systemic fragility that is the unavoidable output of financialization is poorly understood, not just by laypeople but by the financial punditry and professional economists.
⇒ Keep Reading

4 Comments

Documentation of US Dept of Defense admitting ‘losing’ $6.5 trillion ($65,000 per average US family), with 18 year history of ‘losing’ trillions. Your .01% illegal rogue state government at ‘work’ until ‘We the People’ demand arrests for OBVIOUS crimes in war, looting, lying

Catherine Austin Fitts just published documentation of Department of Defense (DOD) official audit reports from 1998 that acknowledge “losing track” of $6.5 trillion, along with Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) admission of “losing” over $100 billion. This is euphemistically termed “unaccounted,” and literally means that DOD agrees they received these funds, agrees the funds are gone, and then claims to not have records of where the money went.

This is the work of Dr. Mark Skidmore and graduate students; Dr. Skidmore is the Director of the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development at Michigan State University and Professor and Morris Chair in State and Local Gov’t Finance and Policy. Catherine was managing director and member of the board of directors of the Wall Street investment bank Dillon, Read & Co. Inc., Assistant Secretary of Housing and Federal Housing Commissioner for HUD in the first Bush Administration, and president of Hamilton Securities Group, Inc. She has designed and closed over $25 billion of transactions and investments to-date, and has led investment strategy for $300 billion of financial assets and liabilities.

I wrote last year upon publication of DOD’s report. Of course, such “official” looting never happens with lawful accounting because records always show where the money goes. This would be like your bank agreeing they received a $65,000 deposit from you, agreeing the money was gone, and not refunding your account while claiming no further information of this “unaccountable,” “lost,” and “missing” money.
⇒ Keep Reading

18 Comments

Why 2017 Is Like 1969

A deeply polarizing new president, a disastrously misguided official narrativethat the political Establishment doggedly supports despite a damning lack of evidence, and an economy teetering on the edge of recession–and worse.

Sound familiar? Welcome to 1969 redux. The similarities between the crises unfolding in 1969 and the present-day crises are not just skin-deep–they’re systemic.

Consider the basic parallels.

1. Nixon was if anything more polarizing than Trump. If there was any politician Democrats loved to hate, it was Nixon. Yet Nixon won a close race against an Establishment Democrat, at least partly because he ran as a “peace candidate” and because he spoke to the Silent Majority who disagreed with the nation’s direction. The Silent Majority was mocked and ridiculed by the mainstream media as racist, close-minded deplorables.

2. The Democratic Party had become the Establishment bastion of war-mongering. The Democratic White House had been obscuring its devastating strategic and tactical miscalculations behind a slick PR campaign and a pervasive and often illegal program of suppressing dissenters and whistleblowers.

3. At the behest of the Establishment, an immense propaganda machinery had been running full-tilt to paper over foreign-policy failures and tragedies (including but not limited to the Vietnam War). In 2017, this immense propaganda machine is focused on discrediting the Trump presidency by unearthing or fabricating evidence of collusion with our default Bad Guy, Russia.
⇒ Keep Reading

6 Comments