Friday, April 15, 2011

Missing the Cold War

Today's guest blogger has been a life-long friend. We were close all through jr. high and high school. Then college and life took us in different directions. Last year we got together again for our high school reunion and discovered that we still have similar interests and opinions. As before, we don't always agree and we still enjoy lively conversations on a wide range of topics. Unlike my wife and I, he doesn't practice politibacy -- nor is he an apolitical inactivist.

This piece isn't intended as a personal manifesto, rather, he hopes to ignite interest and engage in healthy discourse with others who can contribute both similar and differing voices. Please consider the words of Mangham, LA native, Reese McKay, who now resides with his wife in Colorado. (Image from
Part One:

I often find myself missing those old days of the Cold War. It seemed like there was a certain stability and predictability about that era, although that's probably just bullshit. The decade of the sixties with Vietnam and all the assassinations was as volatile and dangerous as any other time in history. But the 70s and 80s seemed somewhat more upbeat to some of us at least. That is also probably an illusion. There were numerous economic and political upheavals during those two decades also. I probably have good memories of those two decades because I was finally out in the world on my own, starting businesses, learning about the oil business, and exploring the Rocky Mountains from the Canadian border all the way to New Mexico.
Lately I have been watching documentary after documentary on the “New World Order.” For me politics and especially world history and international politics have been a lifelong interest, so the ideas and warnings expressed in these documentaries don't especially shock me, although I could become depressed about it if I allowed myself to dwell on it too much.
In any case, as they say on Monty Python, "always look on the bright side of life." So, looking at the bright side, watching all these movies (and reading quite a few books over the past five or six years) has given me a more comprehensive understanding of the perilous situation we are in now. The fact is, even if you choose to have a more optimistic outlook (crazy as that may be) and assume that the people can still become informed enough and exert enough concerted effort as voters and active citizens to have some effect on the direction of the US government and on global relations, wars, etc., the situation still looks dire. Even if I settle on the most optimistic interpretation I can possibly make on the events of the past 50 (or 100) years, it still doesn't look very good to me.
I used to believe there was really a meaningful difference between electing a Republican or electing a Democrat as President. I voted for Ronald Reagan twice and on balance I think he was a decent president when I compare him many of the others (both before and after). But, even with the Reagan administration, the executive branch continued to arrogate more and more power to itself. The role of Congress continued to decline. The odd thing now is to remember that the "news media" actually reported on a good deal of the secret shadow government operations back during the 80s. By and large the major networks and newspapers actually reported the major scandals involving the CIA and other government agencies. They even reported on and questioned the excessive influence of some of the top para-government, para-state organizations such as the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations. It is almost hard to believe now watching old TV news footage from the 80s and seeing the news reporters actually asking serious questions of high officials about things that the "news" media almost totally ignores (deliberately of course) since those days.
Even though the top politicians were almost always protected by all kinds of finagling and "plausible denial" -- some people were actually arrested, tried, and convicted for violating US laws in some cases, including fairly high level executives of some private corporations. For example, the CIA's involvement in drug smuggling and money laundering was openly reported. Important banks such as BCCI were exposed as laundering drug money among other crimes. Now these things (although it seems certain they are happening on an even much bigger scale than they were during the 80s) are almost never acknowledged or mentioned by the big US TV news networks or the AP or the big newspapers. Now about all you get is nonstop inane gossip about the latest celebrity caught up in some meaningless personal scandal and continuous reports whenever any big natural disaster happens, politicians caught in sex scandals, and even relatively small local disasters are reported breathlessly (even if it is a fire happening in some town a thousand miles or more from where you live). Anything to avoid reporting on any substantive debates on serious national or international issues (except in brief sound bites). In fact many of the issues that historically would have been openly debated by Congress are now being "debated" behind closed doors by the para-state operations (presumably).
All through the last twelve presidencies since the end of World War II and the beginning of the Cold War, it seems that the military industrial complex and the "security state" apparatus of secret government has steadily grown in size, power, impunity, and ever greater secrecy. Congress is virtually a useless appendage when it comes to foreign affairs, and the members of Congress in both parties have largely acquiesced in this process of allowing the legislative branch to be neutered in relation to foreign policy, starting and conducting wars, etc. They can't even demand to find out what the intelligence agencies are doing in broad general terms (state secrets, especially memorably invoked by Senator Inouye back during the 80s or early 90s-- "I respectfully request, blah blah blah"). The continuity from Democratic administrations to Republican ones and back to Democratic ones is remarkably constant. The executive branch becomes ever more opaque and grabs onto ever more power and governs more and more through executive orders. Since 2001 the President (both of them) has routinely signed executive orders every year continuing the state of emergency declared that year under “Continuation of Government” laws. According to these laws Congress SHALL review these orders within 6 months after any emergency is declared and SHALL decide whether to extend the "emergency" or revoke it. Yet, Congress has routinely just passively let it go on.
Any way, I was turned off of politics (and much more interested in other aspects of life) during most of the 90s and the first term of George W. Bush's presidency. I did follow the news on Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., just not as assiduously as during other periods of my life perhaps. So, with my renewed interest over the past few years I have had a chance to look at it all with fresh eyes, a new perspective. And with this new perspective I am now finally even beginning to understand why so many of my friends consider global warming to be another fishy issue. Even though I still believe that the science of global warming is solid and has evolved over a 150 year (or even longer) period of ongoing scientific investigation, I can see that it is such a convenient issue for the global elites (the biggest bankers and wealthiest families being the dominant members of this elite set) to use in their dream of further establishing their “new world order,” which has been talked about at least since the days of Woodrow Wilson and the aftermath of the First World War. But each generation of politicians has grabbed onto this concept of a “new world order” and tried to redefine it in whatever way suited the political elites of the time. I can vividly remember President George H. W. Bush evoking his own version of the new world order back in the late 80s and early 90s. It is a vague and malleable term, a term that can have a kind of feel good quality as well as a kind of hard edged toughness to it. In that way it is perfect as a political propaganda term in American politics, since it can have some kind of appeal to both the liberals and the conservatives. It is perfect for politicians who wish to hedge their bets because it seems so innocuous and never has to be fully defined and explained.

However, the reality of this long and endless process of establishing a new world order is that it has no end. It is never finished. In actual practice one of its consequences seems to involve the gradual destruction of the United States as a sovereign nation (a project that is pretty far along) and establishing a system of world government that is accountable only to these elites (probably a mere 10,000 or so super-wealthy interconnected people, although their networks of influence obviously extend throughout all governments, most of the larger corporations, think tanks, etc.) My personal take on this is that it is not really a grand conspiracy in the way such things are often defined. There may not even be any real centralized organizational structure that is secretly in charge of this movement, whether people imagine such an organization to be the Bilderberg Group, the Club of Rome, the Trilateral Commission, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Free Masons, Skull and Bones at Yale University, or any other such murky and secretive organization. I see this process more as the natural tendency of all of the people in possession of great wealth and power, and who wish to solidify their own hold on that wealth and power. One way to consolidate and extend such wealth and power is through the creation of ongoing political and academic institutions that are designed to maintain the current global status quo, whatever that may be. But, generally, as has been so well stated, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The more power and influence these various organizations, “trade and investment accords,” central banks, and other international political and economic structures manage to gain for themselves, the more they are emboldened to grab onto more power, and to attempt to create oligopolistic power structures that are accountable to no one else.

Part Two will appear here on Sunday, April 17, 2011. Please come back for the conclusion.

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