Sunday, November 09, 2014

vote all you want, the secret government won't change....,

bostonglobe |  The voters who put Barack Obama in office expected some big changes. From the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping to Guantanamo Bay to the Patriot Act, candidate Obama was a defender of civil liberties and privacy, promising a dramatically different approach from his predecessor.

But six years into his administration, the Obama version of national security looks almost indistinguishable from the one he inherited. Guantanamo Bay remains open. The NSA has, if anything, become more aggressive in monitoring Americans. Drone strikes have escalated. Most recently it was reported that the same president who won a Nobel Prize in part for promoting nuclear disarmament is spending up to $1 trillion modernizing and revitalizing America’s nuclear weapons.

Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

Glennon cites the example of Obama and his team being shocked and angry to discover upon taking office that the military gave them only two options for the war in Afghanistan: The United States could add more troops, or the United States could add a lot more troops. Hemmed in, Obama added 30,000 more troops.

Glennon’s critique sounds like an outsider’s take, even a radical one. In fact, he is the quintessential insider: He was legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a consultant to various congressional committees, as well as to the State Department. “National Security and Double Government” comes favorably blurbed by former members of the Defense Department, State Department, White House, and even the CIA. And he’s not a conspiracy theorist: Rather, he sees the problem as one of “smart, hard-working, public-spirited people acting in good faith who are responding to systemic incentives”—without any meaningful oversight to rein them in.

How exactly has double government taken hold? And what can be done about it? Glennon spoke with Ideas from his office at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. This interview has been condensed and edited.  Fist tap Arnach.


Mjhammad said...

Limited hangout Obama exculpation.

makheru bradley said...

H. Rap Brown--1969--was way ahead of his time on this issue.

Constructive_Feedback said...

A HA!!

The goal is NOT to "Change The 'Secret Government' "

The Wise confidence men seek to CHANGE THE PEOPLE, having them to REMAIN SILENT against what they USED TO PROTEST AGAINST with respect to this 'Secret Government' because now "THEY LIVE VICARIOUSLY THROUGH" the "establishment figures" in the ELECTED / NON-SECRET GOVERNMENT. .

CNu said...

The people have already been profoundly changed. They're too stupid to know or understand exactly what's going on around them. Even though people were much better informed 40+ years ago, H. Rap Brown was so far ahead of his time, making political/ideological demands on peoples awareness and understanding that they were simply not capable of processing.

You're own experience with trying to raise awareness around that single topic in which you specialize should prove most instructive around this exact point Bro. Feed.

umbrarchist said...

Exactly, Obama should have let Clinton take the prize and let Hillary get egg all over her face.

makheru bradley said...

“H. Rap Brown was so far ahead of his time, making political/ideological demands on peoples awareness and understanding that they were simply not capable of processing.” Which is why he and his comrades became intense targets of COINTELPRO. We can imagine where we would be today if “H. Rap an’em cats” had not been taken out of their development.

CNu said...

I don't imagine they would have been any further along than a Howard Zinn, than a Saul Alinsky, etc., etc.,, contrary to the belief of those yet nostalgic for the Movement, violent external adversity can be turned to your advantage. No. Their development was stalled just as much by the fact that it wasn't organically sync'd to what folks could digest on a mass scale at the time of its apogee. The genius of the CRM was that it was MORE fully sync'd with what folks could digest on a mass scale at the time of its apogee, and, it was sync'd with the requirements of mass media - it effectively exploited mass media in ways not under the full control of the mass media moguls.

makheru bradley said...

I don’t know anyone who’s into nostalgia. Some of us are into creative cultural synthesis--a judicious selection of the best historical practices/ideas and applying them to today. Channeling Brown allowed us to see through Obama, while others were duped into voting for him. The Panthers never engaged in violence comparable to the Weather Underground, e.g. How may Weathermen were killed compared to Panthers? The Black Liberation Army was a response to the violent government repression and murders of BPP members. The Gary Convention’s call for independent Black politics wasn’t organically out of sync with people who had participated in the MFDP and the Lowndes County Freedom Organization. That platform was consisted with what Malcolm was building in the OAAU. Of course there were major differences between the CRM and the Black Liberation Movement. Prior to the CRM the ground had been plowed by Du Bois, Randolph, Bethune and others. WWII and Korean War veterans like Medgar Evers and Robert Williams led by example and helped people overcome their fears. Once Dr. King, SCLC, and SNCC seized momentum, the conservatives (Wilkins, Young) had to go along or get left. The federal government was comfortable allowing the KKK to attempt to violently repress the CRM--a strategy which failed. As you said the MSM representing corporate America could see the profitability of ending segregation. With the BLM, the Feds used local police forces to violently repress the movement. Corporations/foundations funded opposition to Carmichael/Brown, etc. The key move however was the elimination of the bridge between the masses and Carmichael/Brown--the radicalized Martin King. Even then they couldn’t take the risk that a critical mass wouldn’t sync up with the BLM, so they escalated the attack on numerous fronts--Frank Lucas/drugs, Super Fly/Sheba Baby, murdering Hampton, jailing Brown, opening corporate/academic doors while slashing blue collar jobs, creating class schisms, pushing neo-colonial politics, etc.

CNu said...

The BLM was orthogonal to the CRM and MUCH too far ahead of its time, its material, and its cultural and intellectual circumstances. Like a hothouse flower, it was easily isolated, uprooted, and eliminated. Look, the Pope has a major and dangerous fight on his hands despite the fact he's holding all the institutional cards, and, we're all in the midst of an increasingly conspicuous economic contraction worldwide.

Forty-five years ago, the Movement was up against a hugely stacked deck on all fronts, ALL fronts, but so full of itself, like most young males are wont to do, it fundamentally failed to recognize how badly overpowered it would be.