The Power Game

W.J. Astore

A book that shook my world was journalist Hedrick Smith’s “The Power Game,” published 35 years ago in 1987. It was about “How Washington really works,” and what I remember about it is how it made me feel, as in discouraged and outraged. I learned about the power of lobbyists, the power of money, and what money gains you, which is access. More-or-less legal forms of corruption in 1987 are now most definitely legal, with the Supreme Court decreeing that corporations are citizens and that money is speech. It’s amazing how the law can be twisted to serve the interests of the powerful. I for one do not believe that Raytheon and I are both equal citizens and that we both have equivalent access to elected representatives through our “speech,” i.e. our money. But the Supreme Court professes to believe this so there you have it.

When you look at who runs America, it’s a fairly short list. Wall Street, Big Pharma, the fossil fuel companies, Big Tech and Silicon Valley, the military-industrial complex (National Security State), the major banks and insurance companies: any “citizen” with access to billions of dollars who can then buy or rent politicians with millions of dollars. It’s a great deal for them, “investing” in politicians, making them dance to their tune, but it’s a lousy deal for the rest of us.

This makes me think of one of my father’s favorite sayings: He who pays the piper calls the tune. If I toss a penny and ask for a tune, and another “citizen” tosses twenty bucks and asks for a different one, I’m not surprised when the piper doesn’t play my tune. So when the Princeton Study said that the U.S. is an oligarchy and that politicians in Washington don’t listen to us, I wasn’t surprised. I learned it from Hedrick Smith in 1988 when I read his book.

Interestingly, when Smith wrote “The Power Game,” America had just over 4000 political action committees, or PACs. In 2014, America had well over 7000 PACs, including “Super” PACs, which have far fewer constraints in how they can use their money in the political realm. Now we even have “dark” money, and so we’re barraged by ads on TV and elsewhere attacking a candidate or an issue without any clear idea of who’s behind it all and why. But, remember, money is speech and corporations are citizens, so let the good times roll in the U.S. political process.

When Hedrick Smith wrote, things weren’t quite as bad in America. There were more newspapers, more media sources, more real journalists. Nowadays, five or six corporations own all the mainstream media outlets, and it’s not in their interest to promote views that are honest and provocative. Indeed, they love PACs and Super PACs and all the money spent by them and political campaigns to influence voting.

It’s gotten to be so corrupt, and so tightly controlled, as in rigged, that it almost doesn’t matter who runs for office. Clearly, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris aren’t driving policy in America. The few decisions they themselves truly make are almost inconsequential.

One thing I really liked about Hedrick Smith is his honesty. He gave a talk on his book, link here:

https://www.c-span.org/video/?3754-1/power-game-washington-works

Where he explained that, if you’re a politician and you accept certain campaign donations, it’s understood between both parties that when the donor needs you to vote a certain way, you will vote that way, no questions asked. Everyone in Congress understands this. It’s why every effort by real citizens to get big money out of politics fails. It fails because the big donors won’t have it. They like to be able to buy politicians, thank you very much. That’s how democracy works, so says the Supreme Court. If you don’t like it, start your own corporation, make a few billion, then you too can buy your own politician.

A revival of democracy in America starts with campaign finance reform, which most politicians say they’re for even as they vote against it. Sounds like a conundrum to me. Can we solve it by explaining to our esteemed justices (John Roberts, can you hear me?) that money is not the same as speech and that corporations really aren’t the same as citizens?

Finally, a rather obvious point, but it bears repeating. Justices like Thomas, Roberts, Kavanaugh, Gorsuch, and Barrett weren’t just selected because they were reliable votes against abortion. They were really vetted and selected because they will always rule with the powerful against the powerless. They are, in a word, pro-corporate.

And if the Supreme Court is pro-corporate, if Congress is pro-corporate, and if the president is a figurehead known for his pro-corporate policies as a Senator from Delaware, what kind of America are we truly looking at?

In the power game that is Washington, it’s the American people who suffer the agony of defeat.

Hedrick Smith, journalist and truth-teller

85 thoughts on “The Power Game

  1. When I read Hedrick Smith, I was about 22 or 23, a new LT in the military, and certainly naive about how things work at the top.

    A reader reminded me of C. Wright Mills and “The Power Elite,” which reached similar conclusions in the 1950s. I wrote about C. Wright Mills here:

    Greed-War: The Power and Danger of the Military-Industrial Complex

    An excerpt: For C. Wright Mills, the problem was not just “Wall St.,” nor the “Pentagon” alone — focusing on one over the other produces a half-headed understanding, with all of the political demerits that result. As he argued in his 1958 article, “the high military, the corporation executives, the political directorate have tended to come together to form the power elite of America” (pp. 32-33). The power elite is what he described as a “triangle of power,” linking corporations, executive government, and the military: “There is a political economy numerously linked with military order and decision. This triangle of power is now a structural fact, and it is the key to any understanding of the higher circles in America today” (Mills, 1958, p. 32).

    “The military order, once a slim establishment in a context of civilian distrust, has become the largest and most expensive feature of government; behind smiling public relations, it has all the grim and clumsy efficiency of a great and sprawling bureaucracy. The high military have gained decisive political and economic relevance. The seemingly permanent military threat places a premium upon them and virtually all political and economic actions are now judged in terms of military definitions of reality: the higher military have ascended to a firm position within the power elite of our time”. (Mills, 1958, p. 33)

    US politics are dominated, Mills argued, “by a few hundred corporations, administratively and politically interrelated, which together hold the keys to economic decision,” and the economy that results is “at once a permanent-war economy and a private-corporation economy”:

    “The most important relations of the corporation to the state now rest on the coincidence between military and corporate interests, as defined by the military and the corporate rich, and accepted by politicians and public”. (Mills, 1958, p. 33)

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  2. Seymour Melman 1917 – 2004) was an American professor emeritus of industrial engineering at Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
    He wrote extensively for fifty years on “economic conversion”, the ordered transition from military to civilian production by military industries and facilities. Author of “The Permanent War Economy. American Capitalism in Decline”, he was an economist, writer, and gadfly of the military-industrial complex.

    Melman was part of a circle of intellectuals with epicenters in various networks. He was associated with the Frame of Reference group led by University of Pennsylvania Professor Zellig Harris, which culminated in Harris’s posthumous book “The Transformation of Capitalist Society”. He also fraternized with a group of scholars at Columbia University that included the sociologist Robert S. Lynd. And he was connected to a wide network of national and international scholars and activists concerned with disarmament, economic conversion and economic democracy, including Noam Chomsky, Marcus Raskin, Harley Shaiken, John Ullmann, Lloyd J. Dumas, and John Kenneth Galbraith, among many others.”

    And Lt. Col the things he covered extensively in his book “The Permanent War Economy. American Capitalism in Decline”, 37-years ago now, where he takes off from where Mills left off, is still 100% relevant, important and correct in 2022.

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    1. Excellent video, in particular from 7:30 on. The video is 9 years old, the last comment on it was at that time and it has a total of 79 likes including mine. The truth is out there, ignored. Thanks for posting it Dennis.

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    2. Lots of good information there in just under 11 minutes. Cato is a premier libertarian think tank and they produce a lot of good material. Generally the American people tend to dislike getting involved in wars. The answer in Washington is to go ahead anyway and back it up with a full scale propaganda campaign from the news media. Then the news media writes the story that the American people demanded that the government “do something”. Do something. Two of the scariest words in the English language. Don’t just do something. Stand there.

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      1. The big problem in America Alex is there are way too many “think tanks” in the WA DC beltway who are not libertarian, but extremely conservative, bigtime war-mongers, and expel in putting out their propaganda to the news media. I’m sure you can name a few of them.

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        1. Probably the most influential D.C. think tank is Brookings. Thoroughly leftist and thoroughly hawkish. It’s easy for globalists to be hawkish. They want to remake the world in their image so why shouldn’t they use the military as well?

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  3. Dear William:

    It is time for a people movement to create change. The avenue to finding that power is determine where the priorities are. Leaders from around the world, ex: Nobel Laureates, The Elders, U.N. Sec-General Guterres, Scientists, and Activists are saying we must address the world’s crises and militarism – together, united, multi-laterally.

    Why? The answer is “For the Children, For the Climate, For the Future, for our existence! This is life and death. At the end of every webinar I have attended over the last three months, the lead spokesperson asks for ideas to unite and create a mass movement.

    After world leaders met at the U.N. General Assembly, Economist Jeffrey Sachs was asked in an interview (See this brief interview here: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=q9pjNOM53aE), what would is the most important thing you would tell world leaders? He said PEACE is first!

    U.N. Secretary-General Guterres has set the stage! He issued a call for a Global Cease-Fire. This is the most profound action anyone could take. Now it needs a people movement to back it up!

    Therefore, I humbly but boldly submit that a new global peace movement is prepared — a PEOPLE MOVEMENT to create change, to create trust and respect among nations and people, to change ourselves and our cultures of violence. It is one step away from beginning. The movement is an anti war movement, but it is also a movement of GOOD WILL!

    The need and the urgency are great. It will not be easy and there are risks. Sacrifice and dedication are required because people do not want to lose their power. That is why the movement is a “Global Movement of Nonviolence, For the Children” (GMofNV) — to defuse existing conflicts and to reduce the threat of future violence.

    The people everywhere do not want war and violence. Without the people in every country participating, there will be no change. We lose. There will be no peace.

    A GMofNV offers a pathway to transition from the current economics, social norms, and politics. What better way than via nonviolence. Gandhi and King were right.

    A GMofNV is designed to be different and is purposely outside of the box, but has tentacles to every part of society. It is a plan of socialization and change — “For the Children.” Therefore the best possible representatives of nonviolence are asked to take the lead, the people most associated with the children, the people that are usually not listened to and not pervasive in government, have been uniting and practiced mobilizing, and lastly, the people that have a desire to save lives, save the children, and save the world — WOMEN!

    It is not exclusive to women! Women are asked to be first, then invite the men. It does not say that women have all the answers and will solve all our problems. It states that it will be different. We will not know the results until we try.

    This is a test for women and men. Where is the world headed? How do we reverse the militaristic, divisive direction the war in Ukraine has taken the world in? How do we address the world’s crises?

    This is an EMERGENCY. There is no 2nd planet. Greta Thunberg is right, “Our house is burning!”

    A GMofNV is ready now! Please contact me to help with the last step to begin the movement. The children are watching.

    Andre Sheldon
    Founder and Director, Global Strategy of Nonviolence
    Andre (at) GlobalStrategyofNonviolence.org

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  4. Used to be big business vs the populists and now it’s more globalists/big business vs the populists. The Democratic Party was mixed in the 19th century between business and the populists but starting with William Jennings Bryan’s “Cross of Gold” speech became firmly more populist. Up until Bill Clinton when they started to turn globalist. Meanwhile the Republicans which traditionally were the party of big business started to turn more populist in the 21st century with the election of Donald Trump. So now the Republicans are divided between big business (the Mitch McConnell wing) and the populists of the Trump wing. McConnell decries the populists as “isolationists” which to him is a four-letter word. Meanwhile over at Foxnews Laura and even more so Tucker Carlson are spokesmen for the populists, while the Chamber of Commerce speak for big business Republicans. CNN/MSNBC/NY Times/Democratic Party etc. speak for the globalists. Anyway, that’s the way I see it.

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    1. Yep, you have it right. Back in the day we progressives used to shake our heads and decry “Faux News” for its continuous spiel of right wing taking points. Now, you arguably will get better commentary, even in line with progressive thinking, from Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson. Who would have thought eh?

      The thing that I wonder about, now that Bill OReilly is gone, are all those dyed in the wool Republicans who regard Fox News as their Bible, starting to think differently and will get on the bus that their neoliberalism capitalism philosophy is bankrupt? And will Fox News populist shows attract more and more voters from CNN/MSNBC/NY Times to the Trump ticket?

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  5. I used to imagine that given the failings of the Trump regime, MSNBC had a better chance of attracting “righties” to the “left”, than Fox had of attracting “lefties” to the “right”. But lately with the implosion of the pitiful Biden Administration, and the success of Ingraham and Carlson, Fox is doing a better job of converting the swing voters. And lets not forget – Fox is still the most watched cable show in America by far.

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  6. Fox News’s ‘ Tucker Carlson Tonight ‘ is the leading cable news program in the United States as of 2022 ranked by number of viewers – averaging 3.37 million total viewers. And for the most part he is preaching progressive views which are anathema to the right-wing press. ( It shows what whores the Fox ownership is eh! Tucker is a lot of times going against their long held philosophy – but he’s making them the big bucks! So that’s OK)

    So maybe “lefties” can take heart that Carlson is helping their cause. Now if only the Democrats could come up with a decent presidential candidate? If its Hillary again, surely we can look forward to another 4-years of Republican rule!

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    1. Sometimes Carlson is a truth teller. I can’t forget when he very properly roasted John Bolton for being a war monger. In addition he was one of very few questioning the instant flood of money for Ukraine.

      But then he spouts nonsense about “The Great Replacement” that makes me wonder about his sanity.

      You are undoubtedly right, Dennis, in his making the big bucks for Fox and making big bucks is a huge leg up for anyone in America to have a forum.

      Is there any evidence of a philosophy Carlson has that shows consistency, practicality, vision and commitment to something beyond profit? He is a talented attack dog for the right, but that doesn’t bring all the people together. We already see what divide and then take the White House means. That isn’t at all what is involved in winning the country.

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      1. Yep Clif, you always get it right my man!

        You know the thing I always wonder – is this him talking? Are these his original thoughts? Or is he just a great actor reading a script that Fox editors have carefully written for him? And what game is Fox playing here? It’s just all for the bucks right?

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      2. Just saw this point made by Caitlin Johnstone. Here’s what she said:

        “You may vote and debate freely on any issue which does not affect the functioning of the empire. When it comes to how money, weapons and resources move around the world, however, you suddenly find that your votes don’t matter and your position has no mainstream representation. They’ll let you argue until you’re blue in the face over whether or not you can have an abortion or whether minorities should have civil rights; they’ll even let you vote on it. But things like military expansionism and neoliberal globalization and deregulation are off limits.

        The empire relies on false political dichotomies like Democrats vs Republicans to keep everyone fighting over issues which don’t affect the functioning of the empire so the machine can trudge onward uninterrupted by the local riff raff. That is the entire job of those parties.

        The mainstream media exist to keep everyone spellbound by those false dichotomies on the level of discourse and debate. They manufacture culture wars which split the populace in half over an issue which doesn’t affect the empire, then continually feed into that debate.

        The Bernie/AOC/TYT “populist left” and the Trump/Tucker Carlson “populist right” factions are there to lure parts of the population who get a little too curious about the raw mechanisms of empire back into the political false dichotomy so they stop asking unauthorized questions.

        The entire political/media class exists for this purpose: not to help people, not to fight for civil rights, not to create a well-informed populace so that democracy can function, but to keep the grubby little mitts of the unwashed masses far away from the true levers of power. That’s their whole entire function.”

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  7. Lt. Co, the title of this blog is “The Power Game”
    The power of lobbyists, the power of money, and what money gains you, which is access.

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    1. Ray my friend. I have two daughters who live in the USA. Both medical doctors. The youngest with two medical Ph.D.’s. I get defensive when ALL Americans are bashed and tarred with the same brush – prevailing American conception of personal freedom, big on privileges, disdainful of obligations, awash with self-indulgence, and tinged with nihilism.

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    2. The link you provided was mostly about foreign policy and not so much about our culture. That is, our habit of joining in endless wars, derived from Henry Luce’s (Life magazine) characterization of the 20th century as “America’s Century”. The Quincy Institute, which Bacevich heads, states its mission is “to promote ideas that move U.S. foreign policy away from endless war and toward vigorous diplomacy in the pursuit of international peace.” Certainly a worth goal.

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      1. Alex, you don’t think the US culture influences its Foreign Policy?
        Surely the US foreign policy is a direct result of its culture – You think?
        Without the US’s cultural trait of thinking that they are exceptional – there could not be their drive for global hegemony, eh?

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        1. I would guess it works both ways. Culture supports action just as action supports culture. I (faintly) remember in a college philosophy class a discussion between David Hume and Alfred North Whitehead. They were asking the question about religious ritual and the corresponding dogmas. Which came first? Hume argued for the dogma coming first and Whitehead argued that the actions came first.

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        2. Yes. We tend to argue in binaries, yes/no, on/off. Action affects culture and culture informs action.

          America is in a feedback loop now. A militarized culture drives an aggressive and imperial foreign policy which rebounds on our culture.

          Somehow, we need to escape this loop.

          I just watched this clip from Michael Moore’s documentary, Where to Invade Next? If only American women went on strike en masse … joined by sensible men.

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        1. “The American Century” moniker had nothing to do with claims of Divine will (unlike Manifest Destiny). As the Sun finally began to set on the British Empire, the 20th Century was dominated by The US ascendancy to become the dominant world power. PBS would eventually have a series based on the term. You are of course free to believe what you like, but those are the facts.

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          1. @BUTSUDANBILL
            To be fair, Ray said it was a synonym. And the “God chose America to rule the World” meme was only believed by fascist Christian believers in America.
            These symbols contain no whiff of fascism in themselves, of course, but an American fascism would transform them into obligatory litmus tests for detecting the internal enemy. There are at least 70 million evangelicals in the United States—about 25 percent of the population—attending more than 200,000 evangelical churches.

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          2. From the linked article,
            “Luce saw America’s imperial calling as a Judeo-Christian religious obligation. God, he wrote, had summoned the United States to become “the Good Samaritan to the entire world.” Here was the nation’s true vocation: to fulfill the “mysterious work of lifting the life of mankind from the level of the beasts to what the Psalmist called a little lower than the angels.”

            In the present day, such towering ambition, drenched in religious imagery, invites mockery. Yet it actually offers a reasonably accurate (if overripe) depiction of how American elites have conceived of the nation’s purpose in the decades since.

            Today, the explicitly religious frame has largely faded from view. Even so, the insistence on American singularity persists. Indeed, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary — did someone mention China? — it may be stronger than ever………………..”

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  8. Joe Rogan is so influential, and a threat to the powerful, that it would not surprise me at all if he’d been contacted by the C.I.A.

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  9. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. … Power is not a means; it is an end … The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. ~ George Orwell 1984

    “If Orwell is right, life is bleaker than we usually let ourselves imagine. If Orwell is right, life may be even bleaker than we can imagine. Power and the lust for it largely remove the beauty and love from the world. Orwell taught me how bad the world can be. Let’s hope it will be better someday.”

    https://reasonandmeaning.com/2014/10/23/george-orwells-1984/#:~:text=The%20Party%20seeks%20power%20entirely%20for%20its%20own,of%20power%20is%20power.%20~%20George%20Orwell%201984

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  10. We should all shun the labeling of ourselves and others as “Left” or “Right.”

    Leaders on both sides lust for power. Both sides twist the truth to influence the citizens to their side. Both break the law, and both rarely are punished. That is the real glaring signal-flare that the system is broken

    One set of rules for you, and quite another for us.

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    1. Yes, those labels, among so many others, are so misleading. It’s really decent people with sound ethics against indecent people with warped or no ethics. Our system of governance tends to select, empower, and reward the latter.

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    2. A lot of things are useful for political purposes but they are not useful and may even be harmful for us. If politicians or the media label us as on the left and we accept that, they can instantly get a reaction from us by labeling their opponents as on the right. Or even worse – the far right (cue the ominous music).

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  11. I think Patrick Lawrence interprets the Leading Indicators as I do.

    The Imaginary War
    It began when the Biden regime and the press misrepresented Russian aims in Ukraine. All else has flowed from it.

    What were the policy cliques, “the intelligence community” and the press that serves both going to do when the kind of war in Ukraine they talked incessantly about turned out to be imaginary, a Marvel Comics of a conflict with little grounding in reality? I have wondered about this since the Russian intervention began on Feb. 24. I knew the answer would be interesting when finally we had one.

    Now we have one. Taking the government-supervised New York Times as a guide, the result is a variant of what we saw as the Russiagate fiasco came unglued: Those who manufacture orthodoxies as well as consent are slithering out the side door.

    I could tell you I don’t intend to single out the Times in this wild chicanery, except that I do. The once-but-no-longer newspaper of record continues to be singularly wicked in its deceits and deceptions as it imposes the official but imaginary version of the war on unsuspecting readers………………………………………………

    https://consortiumnews.com/2022/07/13/patrick-lawrence-the-imaginary-war/

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    1. That’s a good article. Our big lie was that Putin was out to re-create the Soviet Union. Once that was told then the rest falls into place as did our response. We need to stop him from conquering Europe!! Before it’s too late!! Or, as Biden puts it, to support Ukraine for as long as it’s necessary. Even unto the last Ukrainian.

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  12. Why This Is More Dangerous Than the Cuban Missile Crisis – Helen Caldicott

    Helen Caldicott warns that the sharpening military confrontation between the United States and Russia puts global security, peace and ultimately our very existence in more danger than ever before.

    Based now in her native Australia, she also deplores how successive governments in Canberra have pandered to the relentless U.S. agenda of antagonism towards China and Russia.

    Helen Caldicott, a world-renowned author and film-maker, warns that the sharpening military confrontation between the United States and Russia puts global security, peace and ultimately our very existence in more danger than ever before. The U.S. has gutted arms-control treaties one after another, and its NATO allies have long-pushed Russia into an existential predicament………………………………………………………….

    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2022/06/07/why-this-is-more-dangerous-than-the-cuban-missile-crisis-helen-caldicott/

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    1. Ray, our neighbors across the Taman Sea, we Kiwi’s call it the ditch even though it is 3-hour airline flight, have always been US sock puppets and lapdogs. Pandering is an understatement! Last years announcement of a new Australia-UK-US (AUKUS) military alliance, with the US and UK to supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines, is the just the latest drive to integrate Australia into US war preparations against China.

      Behind the backs of their populations—without any debate in the parliaments or Congress—the three governments have placed Australia on the frontline of plans for war against China to reassert US global hegemony. For the first time, the Australian government has explicitly named China as the target of the military buildup, abandoning previous efforts to avoid doing so because China remains Australian capitalism’s biggest export market.

      The Aussie top brass were ecstatic about a further expansion of US military operations in Australia….. “I do have an aspiration that we can increase the numbers of troops through the rotations, the air capability will be enhanced, our maritime capability [too],” he said. “If that includes basing and includes storage of different ordinances, I think that’s in Australia’s best interest at this point in time.”

      The warmonger-in-chief Blinken ramped up the Biden administration’s provocative allegations and threats against China, accusing Beijing of “economic coercion” against Australia and declaring that the US would “not leave Australia alone on the field,” in confronting China.

      Former Aussie Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd warns that this “paints a very large target on our forehead.”

      Hugh White, an Australian National University professor warned: “As the US-China rivalry escalates, the United States will expect Australia to do more. If the US is allowing Australia to have access to its nuclear technology, it’s because the US expects Australia to be deploying its forces in a war with China.”

      The likely loss of lucrative Chinese markets and the prospect of a nuclear war does not seem to worry Aussie warmongers.

      What is revealed is that any pretense Australian leaders had of having a independent presence on the World stage was never a goer – when the US snapped its fingers, its dog simply rolled over.

      And for this honor the Australian working class is to foot the cost from the $585 billion they are throwing at the military. And it is obvious that a planned conflagration is planned by their military top brass and sycophantic politicians.

      The choice has never been made more stark. The Aussie working class either gets rid of capitalism or Australia goes down the tube like the US is. And possibly long before global climate change gets to do the same thing. The huge floods in Sydney last week are a foreshadow of that.

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  13. This is a must watch for all.. right, left and independents alike.
    But will the US Congress listen to Chris Hedges – not a chance.
    Will Chris Hedges be on US mainstream TV to speak about this – not a chance!
    War profiteering will never end

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  14. In the Seattle Times today…….

    Senator Patty Murray holds a substantial 18-point lead over Republican challenger Tiffany Smiley, claiming huge majorities of Democratic voters and breaking even with independents, in a new poll commissioned by The Seattle Times.

    Murray is a Democrat seeking a sixth term (!) in office.

    In Seattle we used to call her the Senator for Boeing. Never seen a weapons bill she does not like!

    This is how you get power in WA DC. You just hang around long enough. Murray has wormed her way onto powerful committees. The Committee on Appropriations, the Subcommittee on Defense, the Subcommittee on Homeland Security, the Subcommittee on Military Construction.

    Here’s some examples of the great work she does for the people of WA State: On February 28, 2013, Murray introduced the Green Mountain Lookout Heritage Protection Act into the Senate. The bill would prevent the United States Forest Service from removing a building from the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in the state of Washington unless the agency determines that the structure is unsafe for visitors.

    In September 2014, Murray was one of 69 members of the US House and Senate to sign a letter to then-FDA commissioner Sylvia Burwell, requesting that the FDA revise its policy banning donation of corneas and other tissues by men who have had sex with another man in the preceding 5 years. No kidding!

    Beginning in 2016, in each meeting of congress, Murray and Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) have reintroduced the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act into the Senate and House. This bill, if passed, would prohibit, as an unfair and deceptive act or practice, commercial sexual orientation and gender identity conversion therapy. I mean, who cares? Do we really need a federal Law on that?

    On May 28, 2021, Murray abstained from voting on the creation of the January 6 commission. She cited a “personal family matter” for the abstention! Yeah right – how about did not want to piss off any of her fellow committee member buddies in Congress.

    And those low information voters in The Evergreen State vote over and over and over to keep WA State blue!
    Running as an anti-war candidate against Murray is pissing in the wind!

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  15. Patty though has one thing in common with Bernie. They both love those jet fighters and go against the huge opposition of their constituents to having them based in their state.

    Bernie speaking to his pissed off constituents about the boondoggle F35’s being based in Vermont…..”My view is that given the reality of the damn plane, I’d rather it come to Vermont than to South Carolina. And that’s what the Vermont National Guard wants, and that means hundreds of jobs in my city. That’s it.”

    With its Pratt & Whitney F135 turbofan engines, the F35 is noisier than the F-16’s they are replacing — by a factor of four. The Air Force’s own study reported this would expose a thousand homes to noise levels exceeding 65 decibels, a noise level considered “unsuitable.”

    Patty Murray’s home is on Whidbey Island, WA, the home of the Navy NAS Whidbey. Where for years the locals have been up in arms about the Navy Boeing EA-18G Prowler jets ruining their quality of live. A class action lawsuit, filed against the United States in the Court of Federal Claims, alleges the noise levels created by the EA-I8G “Growler” fighter jets that take off and land at NASWI and NOLF Coupeville exceed 150 decibels, well above the minimum 75-decibel noise level identified by the National Academy of Sciences Committee on Hearing, Bioacoustics, and Biomechanics as the lowest threshold at which hearing loss can occur. The plaintiffs endure Navy aircraft carrier landing flights that begin “as late as 9 pm and continued until 2 am,” the complaint says. Sometimes over 35-flights per day!

    And now these poor people are finding out that the Navy is training Australian F18 pilots at the NAS – ramping up the number of operations from 84,700 to 112,100 annually! The sound of freedom for Americans – and Aussies now! Wonder why Patty Murray, the Senator for Boeing, has done nothing about these Boeing EA-18G’s being a public noise nuisance eh? Maybe its because she spends most of her days not at home, but in WA DC!

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  16. Tell me this ain’t true! Surely I have got this all wrong!

    This June, members of the U.S. Senate are looking to not only block the U.S. Navy from sending EA-18G Growler electronic attack aircraft into storage, but are also proposing that the service join together with the Air Force to form a new land-based aerial electronic warfare force.

    In its 2023 Fiscal Year budget request, the Navy had proposed shutting down all five of its non-carrier-based active component expeditionary electronic attack squadrons and sending the jets currently assigned to those units to the boneyard in Tucson, Arizona.

    But the Senate Armed Services Committee advanced a version of the annual defense policy bill, or National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), for the 2023 Fiscal year containing the EA-18G-related provisions, among other things, on June 16, 2022.

    This legislation would put a halt to the Navy’s desire to put the EA-18Gs currently spread across five active component land-based expeditionary electronic attack squadrons in storage and cut the 1,020 officers and enlisted personnel assigned to those units. In documents released earlier this year as part of its proposed 2023 Fiscal Year budget, the Navy had said this would free up nearly $808 million in funds.

    Members of the US Senate don’t want that eh!

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      1. Yes Alex this Washington Times article is surely relevant and topical to this weeks Bracing Views blog whose title is “The Power Game”……

        “Rep. Adam B. Schiff, chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, wants a defense policy bill to include language blocking Congress from oversight of the military and National Guard in some cases of domestic deployment…….

        “This un-American amendment will fundamentally and irreparably erode Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York, a member of the Armed Services Committee and chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, told The Washington Times. “House Democrats led by Adam Schiff are attempting to cover up for the national security crises of the weakest commander in chief in U.S. history.””

        My comment above wrt the Navy EA-18G’s was addressing the power of the Congress to overrule the Navy and be complicit in continuing the obscene military spending. Directing the Navy to do things that they did not even ask for. But I guess this is not an abuse of power since constitutionally the Military is to be under civilian control.

        Your linked article is a discussion of another aspect of power. I notice that all the commentors to this article are of the Republican bent. And this commenter, allegedly an attorney, sums up the theme of most of the comments. I don’t know what to make of this frankly!

        “Blocking Congress from oversight of the military and National Guard in some cases of domestic deployment is nothing less than a move to oppress the American people with the misuse of the Armed Forces of the United States against them. This is reminiscent of the Nazi Gestapo and the Soviet Cheka, later KGB now FSB, and the secretive disappearance of those suspected of insufficient loyalty tip the Nazi and Communist regimes. The Federal government has already granted itself with secret search warrants in domestic terrorism cases. What’s next an American Gulag style system of forced labor camps? Or a double tap from a small caliber pistol in a prison basement?

        By merely asking for this, Adam Schiff has announced to America how much he hates our Freedom, Individual liberty and Constitution. This is the proof for ejecting him, and all who support this unconstitutional attack on our freedom, from any position in the Federal Government, including the House of Representatives for all time and permanently barring them from any position from all levels of government in the United States.”

        Oh dear!

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        1. The Washington Times is conservative and the Washington Post is liberal….. My impression is that people like Schiff wouldn’t mind if the US became a one-party dictatorship as long as their party was the one party.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. The MIC is clever about spreading the work (and the jobs) around to the home states of various senators and congressmen. It’s a self-reinforcing system. Defense work is mostly domestic so they can do that. And every year the Pentagon wants to consolidate the number of bases they have in the U.S. and every year the Congress prevents it. They don’t want to lose their bases regardless of how inefficient they may be.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) is a process by the a US federal government commission to increase United States Department of Defense efficiency by coordinating the realignment and closure of military installations following the end of the Cold War. More than 350 installations have been closed in five BRAC rounds: 1988, 1991, 1993, 1995, and 2005. These five BRAC rounds constitute a combined savings of $12 billion annually.

    After 17-years, time for another BRAC round eh Alex and Lt.Col? The residents of Whidbey Island think so. And, despite Senator Murray, want to see NAS Whidbey get the axe!

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  18. While we are speaking of “Power”…
    The Power of the US to pull off foreign Coups – without consulting the American people of course!

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    1. CNN has Jan 6 all the time. When Trump was being impeached the CNN president, Jeff Zucker, ordered his underlings to lead with the impeachment story every time they had a broadcast. Never underestimate the power of a shallow but vindictive leader.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Alex, I liked Jimmy Dore’s commentary on the Jan 6 hearings in my above linked video. I think this whole hearing charade is just the DemoRATS and lamestream liberal media attempting to hang Trump before the 2024 election. Do you agree? Talking of power! The power the mainstream media is not to be underestimated eh?

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        1. The power of the mainstream media is enormous. Why do we talk about anything? Because it’s covered in the media. Why do we talk about a shooting in Uvalde and ignore the even greater number of shootings in Chicago? Because the media tells us to. Joe Biden sanctions Russia for its incursion into Ukraine and the media pretty much 100% second that with stories about what an evil person Putin is and what a great guy Zelenskyy is. And millions of people agree, not knowing either and not having followed either person. So where do they get their information from? Mainstream news. Sure, here’s my nose ring. Just tell me where to follow. Master.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I remember watching TV back in the day….2004. Kerry vs Bush. The lamestream media was portraying Kerry, who served in Vietnam, as undesirable. Versus Bush the draft dodger who would be a better President. Very confusing since I at that time thought the press was “liberal” and antiwar. Reflecting on it, the media had decided they wanted Bush – and told the American people what to do! Just like the press thought they had the power to anoint Hillary. And it bit them in the behind!

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  19. An Op Ed in this mornings Guardian online newspaper…..Talking about the power of the Biden administration and the leadership of the Democratic party. (?)

    “The Biden administration and the leadership of the federal Democratic party seem dedicated to broken and undemocratic institutions. Given the power these institutions are wielding, this feels hopelessly out of touch. The primary solution offered by the Administration has been to show up to vote in the midterms to potentially codify Roe, or more likely, stave off a federal abortion ban by the Republican party. None of the solutions proposed even come close to addressing the situation.

    The primary response to the rollback of several fundamental rights has been “vote and donate”. Voting is of course necessary, and so are donations and all sorts of political activism. That doesn’t make it less insulting. People have voted. The last two elections have seen record turnout for Democrats. The party has unified control of government, despite all the caveats. The problem is, in the current system, voting will not work, and people know that.

    There is no future where the Democratic party doesn’t embrace serious reforms to the current constitutional order, because radical resistance to the anti-democratic onslaught is required for their continued existence as a party.”

    Interesting how this writer, Ben Davis, who works in political data in WA DC, and who worked on the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign, never offers any real concrete solutions, or recommendation for serious reforms, that the Biden administration and the leadership of the Democratic party should utilize to fix the undemocratic Institutions.

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/jul/15/democrats-are-facing-asymmetrical-warfare-its-time-to-wake-up-and-fight-back

    Like

  20. The Seattle City Council maybe is moving to reform the electoral process maybe..

    “Two voting reform options will be on the November ballot after the Seattle City Council fast-tracked an alternative to a signature-driven effort touted as a better way to reflect voters’ wishes.

    In a special meeting Thursday, the council voted to ask voters to consider ranked-choice voting alongside approval voting, which landed on the ballot as Initiative 134 after a successful petition effort.

    The move away from more traditional voting has gained steam across the country as advocates seek more equitable elections. Either one would change the city’s current primary election process, in which voters choose one candidate and the top two move on to the general election.”

    One small step for mankind………maybe eh?

    https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/competing-voting-reform-measures-make-seattles-november-ballot-after-city-council-oks-alternative/

    Like

  21. Tucker Carlson hits it out of the ball park again.
    “The fact that Joe Biden is the President is an indictment of the media and the Democratic Party!”

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    1. Of course, much of this can be said of Republicans with Ronald Reagan during his 2nd term.

      Which doesn’t make matters any better — it’s just a reminder that both major parties have no principles.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. As I see it there were two different messages from the mainstream media. For Reagan the message was that he was old and therefore he must be senile. For Biden the message is that he’s not senile, he’s just old. Two very different messages depending on whom the media is rooting for.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. There is no comparison surely Alex. Yeah the Gipper may have been struggling with senility towards the end of his second term, but he was a sharp as a tack politician when he was first elected. Watch old videos of him speaking when he was first elected. The guy had charisma and stage presence.
          On the other hand, Joe Biden is not even half way through his first term and he can barely find his seat on the stage without help. That the media was rooting for him in this last election when he was obviously warding off onset of dementia will go down in history as an all time low, even for the mainstream media.

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        1. The beauty is that you could vary the hologram based on the location of the advertising spots. For rural Texas the hologram could have an angular cowboy look. For Austin the hologram could instead look like a metrosexual. You know, I really should get a multi-million dollar contract as an election advisor. I’ll work for whichever side gives me more money. I ain’t proud.

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  22. Two mob bosses fight to strengthen their base!
    This is going be interesting.
    Trump will not go down without trying to burn his fellow Republican down.

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    1. Trump’s ego could get in the Republicans’ way just like Hillary’s ego got in the Democrats’ way. The mainstream media of course will fan the flames of a Trump/DeSantis fight, as we see from The New Yorker.

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  23. REMINDER… Hillary Clinton was asked by an interviewer: ‘Ms. Clinton, some have suggested that you aren’t healthy enough or are too old to pursue the presidency. Do you have a comment on that?’

    Her response? ‘It’s my turn. I’ve done my time, and I deserve it.’

    Trump might have had a big ego, but Hillary surely trumped (excuse the pun) him in that department eh!

    And since when are we “taking turns” at the presidency? And, oh by the way, the only one who “deserves” it is the candidate chosen by the American people through a secret ballot process we affectionately call “voting.”

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  24. We can’t end this thread about “The Power Game” without talking about the enormous wealth accumulated by these American politicians. As the saying goes: ” Money might not be the most important thing in the World. But it’s not far behind whatever is”

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      1. What you need Lt Col is Pelosi’s inside knowledge about upcoming Laws promulgated by Congress on financial matters – so that you can buy and sell just at the right time with knowledge no Joe Blow could ever have.
        You know what’s ironic to me right now is Pelosi is the usual poster child for this corruption. But Barrack Obama with his zillion dollar Mansion escapes any of the same derision. A community organizer who in 8-years earned enough to buy a house with 7 bedrooms and 8 and a half bathrooms on a 29-acre estate!

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        1. You can amass a lot of dough when some friendly corporations pay you a half million dollars for a 30 minute speech. Presumably they can get it back later in friendly government policies for themselves. Well worth the price I’d say.

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          1. Obama famously railed against Wall Street during a ’60 Minutes’ interview near the end of his first year as president. ‘I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street,’ Obama said then.

            Barack Obama is officially cashing in, lining up speeches to Wall Street bankers for $400,000 a pop.
            Bloomberg reported Monday that the former president spoke in New York to clients of Northern Trust Corp. A second appearance at the private equity behemoth Carlyle Group followed. And next week Obama will speak at a health care conference hosted by investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald.

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  25. Jeffrey Sachs speaks: The perilous situation after COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and the end of US leadership.
    Jeffrey Sachs, economist and UN adviser for the Sustainable Development Goals, discusses the situation in the world after the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the dangerous US mindset.
    Jeffery covers things we’ve slowly and reluctantly come to realize may be the inevitable fate of humankind in our generatios.

    Like

  26. 2 Interesting reads.
    Listen to Kissinger and CIA’s William Burns and Compare with Populist Political Platitudes.
    This short article aims to merely illustrate – not prove – the difference between security political intellectualism and ignorance. It does not focus on peace – theories, ideas, concept or policies – simply because none of the personalities appearing below are in the business of peace.
    https://www.globalresearch.ca/listen-kissinger-cia-burns-compare-populist-platitudes/5781894

    The Biggest Lie The Hawks Ever Sold: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
    The US is the only nation on earth whose entire economy is built on arms manufacturing and security guarantees to tyrannical Gulf states. It’s not just correct to call the US empire a uniquely evil power structure, it’s correct to say it’s impossible for it not to be.
    The difference between Democrats and Republicans is that Republicans say they will do evil things and then do evil things, while Democrats say they will not do evil things and then do evil things.
    https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/the-biggest-lie-the-hawks-ever-sold

    Like

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