The author is a prominent American politician, businessman, publicist and author. He was Ronald Reagan’s Budget Director, and a congressman from Michigan. He is a frequent commentator on the major financial TV networks on the state of the economy. You could describe him as America’s financial conscience and scold – and he’s been doing it for 40 years, he famously broke with Reagan over his budget-busting ways.
He writes frequently about the perversity of US policy towards Russia, and we reproduce his work here when he does. See the full archive of his articles on RI here.
When the Donald promised to “drain the swamp” during the 2016 election campaign—- it did sound vaguely like an attack on Big Government, and at least a directional desire to shrink the state and let free market capitalism breathe.
After 22 months in office, however, the truth is patently obvious: The only Swamp that Donald Trump wants to drain is one filled with his political enemies and policy adversaries at any given moment in time. Even then, you have to consult his tweetstorm ledger to know exactly who the swamp creatures de jure actually are.
Former CIA director John Brennan – he’s become the poster boy of the worst excesses of the Deep State
Former CIA director John Brennan – he’s become the poster boy of the worst excesses of the Deep State
Still, the Donald’s daily Twitter assaults on the Deep State are a wondrous thing. They surely do undermine public confidence in rogue institutions like the FBI, CIA and NSA, which profoundly threaten America’s constitutional liberties and fiscal solvency.
Likewise, his frequently unhinged tweets also lather their congressional sponsors and beltway poo-bahs with well-deserved mud and opprobrium. And the Donald’s increasingly acrimonious public feuding with Deep State criminals like James Comey and John Brennan is just what the doctor ordered.
The Deep State thrives and milks the public treasury so successfully in large part because the Imperial City’s corps of permanent policy apparatchiks like Comey and Brennan (and thousands more) pretend to be performing god’s work. So doing, they preen sanctimoniously to the adoration of their sycophants in the mainstream media, claiming to be above any governance or sanction from the unwashed electorate.
Attacking this rotten perversion of democracy, therefore, is the Donald’s real calling. While he lacks both the temperament and ideas to solve the nation’s metastasizing economic and social challenges and has no hope whatsoever to make MAGA, he is more than suited for his “Great Disrupter” mission.
That is, the existing order needs to be discredited and brought down first, and on that score his primitive economic populism will more than do its part. As we have previously explained, Trump’s deadly combination of Fiscal Debauchery, Protectionism and Easy Money will eventually blow the nation’s debt and bubble-ridden economy sky-high.
Likewise, his crude rendition of America First is not a blueprint for rebooting America’s national security policy, but it is an existential threat to Empire First and the Deep State’s usurpation of constitutional government. And even as the Donald lurches to and fro on Russia, Korea, the Middle East, NATO, globalism and so-called allies, the main job is getting done. That is, the War Party’s self-appointed role as global policeman and the Indispensable Nation is getting thoroughly discredited.
In terms of the Donald’s great mission of wrecking the Deep State, we would only take issue with him to this extent: Why in the world does he not understand that he is actually President and has a far more powerful weapon at his disposal than his Twitter account—-56 million followers to the contrary notwithstanding?
To wit, he has the unquestioned constitutional power to both appoint and fire his own cabinet, sub-cabinet and upwards of 3,000 Schedule C policy jobs; and also to declassify anything lurking behind the Deep State’s massive wall of unjustified secrecy if he deems it in the public interest.
Accordingly, Trump could have and should have fired Jeff Sessions long before he did and Rod Rosenstein even before that. After all, it is the spinelessness of the former and the Deep State treachery of the latter, that launched the hideous Mueller witch-hunt in the first place and that keeps it going from one absurdity to the next ridiculous over- reach.
Can there be anything more pitiful after 17 months of nothingburgers on the phony Russian collusion file than Mueller’s list of indictments. These include:
13 Russian college kids for essentially practicing English as a third language at a St Petersburg troll farm for $4 per hour;
12 Russian intelligence operatives who might as well have been picked from the GRU phonebook;
Baby George Papadopoulos for mis-recalling an irrelevant date by two weeks;
Paul Manafort for standard Washington lobbyist crimes committed long before he met Trump;
Michael Cohen for shirking taxes and running Trump’s bimbo silencing operation;
Michael Flynn for doing his job talking to the Russian Ambassador and confusing the confusable Mike Pence on what he said and didn’t say about Obama’s idiotic 11th hour Russian sanctions;
Rick Gates for helping Manafort shakedown the Ukrainian government and other oily Washington supplicants.;
Sam Patten, another Manafort operative who forget to register correctly as a foreign agent;
Richard Pinedo, a grifter who never met Trump and got caught selling forged bank accounts on-line to Russians for a couple bucks each;
Alex van der Zwaan, a Dutch lawyers who wrote a report for Manafort in 2012 and misreported to the FBI what he told Gates about it. That’s all she wrote and it’s about as pathetic as it gets. If nothing else, the fact that Mueller hasn’t been guffawed out of town on account of this tommyrot is a measure of the degree to which the Imperial City has fallen prey to the Trump Derangement Syndrome.
The Brennan Report – The Foundational Document of the RussiaGate Witch-Hunt
Still, we have to wonder why Trump doesn’t get the joke. Long ago he could have declassified everything related to the foundational RussiaGate document. That is, the January 6, 2017 report entitled, “Assessing Russian Activities And Intentions in Recent US Elections”.
The report was nothing of the kind, of course, and is now well-understood to have been written by outgoing CIA director John Brennan and a hand-picked posse of politicized analysts from the CIA, FBI and NSA. It was essentially a political screed thinly disguised as the product of the professional intelligence community and was designed to discredit and sabotage the Trump presidency.
As presented to the President-elect and released to the public in declassified form, it is all gussied-up with caveats, implying that the real dirt is in the “highly classified” version of the report. Except that’s just the typical Deep State hide-the-ball trick: When it can’t prove its “assessments” and “judgments”, it claims the evidence is top secret.
In the current case, the Imperial City is so red hot with Trump antipathy that any undisclosed smoking guns in the highly classified version would have leaked long ago. So the truth is, there is nothing more to the allegedly sinister Russian “influencing campaign” than the superficial blarney in the public version of the document.
And the latter boils down to ten pages of sweeping insinuations and airballs—plus a loony 9-page appendix which proves the totally public RT America cable TV network doesn’t think much of the Washington’s global meddling!
Indeed, we second the motion. In fact, when we first read this ballyhooed report our thought was that someone at the Onion had pilfered the CIA logo and published a side- splitting satire.
The 9-pager on RT America, which is presented as evidence of “Kremlin messaging”, is so sophomoric and hackneyed that it could have been written by a summer intern at the CIA. It consists entirely of a sloppy catalogue of leftist and libertarian based dissent from mainstream policy that has been aired on RT America on such subversive topics as Occupy Wall Street, anti-fracking, police brutality, foreign interventionism and civil liberties.
Actually, your author has appeared dozens of times on RT America and advocated nearly every position cited by the CIA as evidence of nefarious Russian propaganda. And we thought it up all by ourselves!
So, yes, we do think US intervention in Syria was wrong; that Georgia was the aggressor when it invaded South Ossetia; that the American people have been disenfranchised and need to “take this government back”; that Washington runs a “surveillance state” where civil liberties are being ridden roughshod upon; that Wall Street is riven with “greed” and the “US national debt” is out of control; that the two-party system is a “sham “and that it doesn’t represent the views of “one-third of the population” (at least!); and that most especially after killing millions in unnecessary wars Washington has “no moral right to teach the rest of the world”.
So there you have it: Policy views on various topics that are embraced in some instances by both your libertarian editor and the left-wing Nation magazine; and which are held to be examples of Russian messaging—even alarming evidence of nefarious meddling in our electoral process.
Moreover, it turns out that RT America is not even in the top 95 cable channels according to published rankings, and may have an audience of less than 30,000 viewers per day, according to even the rabidly anti-Putin Daily Beast. Still, by the lights of John Brennan and his coterie of CIA hacks, that’s apparently 30,000 too many citizens being exposed to anti-establishment opinion.
In that regard, we especially got a yuck from the following example of RT’s nefarious attempt to influence American voters. Not only have we uttered these very same thoughts on RT America, but we also conveyed them on the Fox Business network and didn’t even get censored!
Some of RT’s hosts have compared the United States to Imperial Rome and have predicted that government corruption and ‘corporate greed’ will lead to US financial collapse.”
Needless to say, if this is an example of the work being done by the US intelligence community with its $75 billion annual budget, they are giving the idea of pouring money down a rathole an altogether new definition.
In fact, does the juvenille fool who penned this drivel think Washington is purer than Caesar’s wife? The report whines and slobbers about RT America’s indirect support from the Russian government and an alleged $190 million subsidy from the Russian state.
Yet Washington spends upwards of $800 million per year on the U.S. Agency for Global Media, which is the parent organization of its own international propaganda arms: Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Radio y Television Marti, Radio Free Asia and the Middle East Broadcast Networks.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It doesn’t count, for example, the $170 million per year spent by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) to subvert governments which Washington doesn’t like. Indeed, the two sub-agencies of NED (one for the Dems and one for the GOP) were chaired by two of Washington’s most blood-thirsty regime changers—Madeleine Albright and the late Senator John McWar of Arizona.
Unlike RT America, of course, these two cats caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians who happened to be domiciled in places they deemed in need of that very special kind of “influencing” that is delivered from the business end of a Tomahawk cruise missile.
Beyond that, there is billions more of “agit prop” and NGO funding that is channeled through the CIA, DOD, the State Department, the Agency for International Development and many more—-all designed to “influence opinion” in dozens of foreign countries where the people need to be advised of the correct line from Washington.
Yet the report’s mendacious attack on the utterly irrelevant RT America is the stronger part of the document!
The main body of the document consists of 10 pages of bloviation which amount to this: The very distinct probability that Vlad Putin strongly dislikes Hillary Clinton, who did liken him to Adolph Hitler; and preferred Donald Trump, who was a wet-behind- the-ears real estate gambler from New York City, thereby still in possession of sufficient common sense to see that Russia is no threat to America and that rapprochement with Putin was in order.
Actually, it gets a lot richer. The US government did spend tens of millions covertly supporting the so-called “color revolutions” on Russia’s doorstep, including the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan, the Jeans Revolution in Belarus, the Grape Revolution in Moldova and, most especially, the so-called pro-democracy protests in Russia during 2011-2013 that were aimed at vilifying and discrediting Vladimir Putin.
Yet Imperial Washington wears absolute blinders with respect to this kind of bald-faced meddling in the internal politics of other sovereign nations. There is not an iota of connection between the safety and security of the American people domiciled between their ocean moats and whatever some two-bit dictator is doing in Belarus or the intrigues of the communist party in Moldova.
Soft Power Aggression – How The Imperial City Makes a Living
The explanation for this kind of soft-power aggression, therefore, is not national security: It’s what Imperial Washington does for a living. That is, the billions of taxpayer money being pumped through the foreign policy agencies, NGOs, think tanks, advocacy organizations and sleazy lobbying operations like those of the Podesta brothers and Paul Manafort finance there own raison d’etre .
David Stockman was Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Ronald Reagan. After leaving the White House, Stockman had a 20-year career on Wall Street. The above originally appeared at David Stockman’s Contra Corner.