Update on 3 battles in the war for control of America: TPP, NSA, & police

Summary:  We’re in the endgame — the pursuit phase of battle — where the 1% employ the power gathered through years of careful planning and work. Hence the number of important conflicts splashing over the front pages. Much depends on their outcomes. I’ve predicted wins for the 1%, as their well-organized and funded political machine defeats our apathy. Here’s the action on 3 of these clashes as of today.

Crystal Ball


  1. The Trans Pacific Partnership.
  2. Our out-of-control police.
  3. Government surveillance of Americans.
  4. For More Information.

(1)  The Trans Pacific Partnership

Under the cloak of “free trade”, a large secret plan to screw us. Three weeks ago I forecast that it would pass. Today’s vote suggests that I might be wrong, as a bipartisan alliance in the House voted against Obama on a key step in the legislative dance. The vote among Democrats was 40-144 against, among Republicans 86-158 against.

House Democrats delivered a stinging defeat to President Obama’s trade agenda when a vast majority voted to derail legislation designed to help him advance a sweeping deal with 11 Pacific-rim nations.

The House voted 302 to 126 to sink a measure to grant financial aid to displaced workers, fracturing hopes at the White House that the package would smooth the path for Congress to approve a separate bill to grant Obama fast-track authority to complete an accord with 11 other Pacific Rim nations.

“I don’t think you ever nail anything down around here,” Obama told reporters on his way out of the Capitol. “It’s always moving.”

Trans-pacific Partnership

The AP explained Obama’s insight

A second roll call followed on the trade negotiating powers themselves, and the House approved that measure, 219-211. But under the rules in effect, the overall legislation, previously approved by the Senate, could not advance to the White House unless both halves were agreed to. That made the day’s events something less than a permanent rejection of the legislation. Pelosi said the bill was “stuck in the station,” suggesting that changes could get it moving again.

Police in New America

(2) Regulating our out-of-control police

Striking a too-rare optimistic note, I forecast that we would see substantial reforms providing more regulation of police.  I stick with that call, but we have to respect the power of the police push-back. Supporters of the police have tortured the data until it confesses. Expect more of this.

These tactics have worked in the past, and might work today if not the for the endless series of videos of excessive use of force by police, another example of people’s reluctance to see how technology changes long-standing social dynamics.

Applause for the NSA

(3)  Regulating our government’s surveillance of Americans

Exactly 2 years ago I said that we would do nothing in response to revelations about government spying, and that The NSA news might be a birthday for the New America!

The changes come slowly. Not like a frog being boiled, because frogs are smart and jump out of the pot. This is like bondage porn, where a sub slowly surrenders to the domination by the will of another. Surrendering responsibility, the burden of self-government.

We cannot admit the harsh truth, and so take comfort in lies.

We say that we yield to the government to save us from the shadowy threat of jihadists – who one day over a decade ago killed a fraction of those who die each year in traffic accidents, or suicide by guns, or from other causes we cannot bother to address because we spend so much on security (internal and external, formerly known as police and defense). We say that we yield to fear of an organization which probably no longer exists in significant form (bequeathing their name to nationalistic movements who fight us because we go to their lands and fight them).

We say that we yield to the government because they — and our ruling elites — are too strong. We say that we let the democratic machinery of the Republic lie unused because we know that resistance is futile.

In fact we yield because it is easier for us. More comfortable.

After 2 years Michael Brenner (Prof of International Affairs, U Pittsburgh) explains what’s been done: “The NSA’s Second Coming” (spoiler: almost nothing). Also see the links at Wikipedia about the USA Freedom Bill (another in the series of New Speak terms for the growing security state, like Patriot Act, Homeland Defense).

For those who enjoy gallows humor, while Obama signed the “Freedom” Act on June 2 while he asked the secret FISA Court to ignore the Second Circuit Court of Appeals May 7 ruling that the NSA’s bulk data collection of telephone data was illegal — and will allow the NSA to collect the data during the 6-month transition period the new law allows (and after that, we’ll see. It’s vintage Obama, giving with the Left hand what he takes with the Right.

(4)  For More Information

If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See links to the accurate calls, to the wrong ones, and to the ones still in the future — especially these…



13 thoughts on “Update on 3 battles in the war for control of America: TPP, NSA, & police”

    1. Duncan,

      Great story! This touches on something I have long suspect: many communities either have too many police – hence busting seniors’ poker games and kids lemonade stands — or misdeploy them (policing the middle class not the high-crime areas). Also seen in the massive numbers that are deployed to small incidents.

      That was so in my one involvement as a close bystander in a mass shooting. A division of police surrounded the building and patiently waited until he finished killing people — then slowly slowly moved in. I hid under my desk by people bled to death down the hall (flunking my action hero test).

    2. I think the police were mad because there were no donuts for sale…… Changes will happen only because of more and more exposure of what has been seemingly hidden for so long. Now that everyone essentially carries a camera things that would never see the light of day will force endless lawsuits and cities will have to regulate police behavior or go broke. Hopefully….
      I’m glad Obama ran on transparency otherwise we would be really in trouble!

      1. It’s well deserved as far as I’m concerned. I find it hard to believe the secrecy that surrounds the TPP. I mean congress cannot take notes, cameras are removed, they read it in a secluded room, threats of penalties if any info is leaked. The public is completely left out. It’s just amazing! What’s that slogan, “that’s what democracy looks like”, NOT!!

      2. Ellifeld,

        Think of it as “the future”. The 1% have worked for generations to weaken the Republic — while we watched and did nothing. Now they put that accumulated power to work. That we win one means nothing. Games are not won by hitting all home runs.

      3. When you say the 1% I think you actually mean the .1% or even less. I know friends who are 1%ers and they work and do their thing but are not in a position of power or seek it. The people who you refer to are unique and connected somehow to power, generationally.
        And what would be the endgame in their plans? Unchallenged power? Complete control over everything? Stifle dissent?

      4. Ellifeld,

        “When you say the 1% I think you actually mean the .1% or even less.”

        While precise classification of our ruling elites is too complex for discussion here, I believe the usual label of the 1% is accurate for general use. But in terms of the elite weilding the power as individuals you are quite right — we’re talking about a few thousand households of the 100 million in the US.

        No class identification works for individuals. Not only are there always exceptions, class in America is a disreputable concept. The most obvious example is people in households making $400,000 per year insistently calling themselves “middle class” — when the 1% level is $383,000.

        Also, the 1% is imo a more effective label for wealth than income, but that’s less well studied since we have moderately good data on income from the IRS — but nothing of remotely the same quality for wealth.

      5. ellifeld,

        “And what would be the endgame in their plans? Unchallenged power? Complete control over everything? Stifle dissent?”

        They feel, with some basis in fact and logic, that they are America’s natural ruling class. That’s not an unusual mindset in history. So their role is to rule, although individuals within the 1% will have different concepts of what that means. Ruling classes tend (with exceptions) to focus on the key issues. Things like mating habits of the peons are of little interest. For details see How the 1% runs America. Runs us. The answer points to 2 futures for us.

        I don’t believe we have the kind of nightmarish rulers described by Orwell in 1984:

        “The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. … The object of power is power. … Obedience is not enough. … Do you begin to see the kind of world we are creating? … Always there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.”

  1. ““It’s all about power and the unassailable might of money.”
    — E. P. Arnold Royalton, the great 21st century industrialist and philanthropist”
    Now how difficult is that to understand? How often does your own subservient demeanor affiliate with such simple a declaration? How frequently will you defer to the too common refrain that you need that job to not lie and curry favor…..
    Don’t blame the Rich for your choices in your life. Don’t look to your dear Red or Blue leaders to offer anything for you and yours. You do know they look askance at you for very real reasons, yes?
    Grow a pair. And if those around and beside you will not support that and you, move along.


    1. Breton,

      A great quote, one that readers of the FM website have seen many times. Ditto with the sentiments you express.

      One important note: these posts are written about America (unless otherwise stated). Most other nations are as dominated by their wealthy elites as America, or more so. The great exception are the Nordic nations, the truly exceptional peoples. I’d write more about them, if I knew more about them. We have much to learn from them.

  2. “Clinton’s building her strategy around a series of domestic policy rollouts. How she’s doing this is equally telling: Advisers told me it was an elaborate, even West Wing-style policy process, with concentric circles of advisers and pollsters who are cooking up a comprehensive economic policy, some of which will be for public consumption, some of which will be employed if she’s elected.”

    I believe the phrase “some of which will be for public consumption” is better known as “lying.”

    “At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer. If it ever reach us it must spring up amongst us; it cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen we must live through all time or die by suicide.”
    — Abraham Lincoln, address to the Young Men’s Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois on January 27, 1838, titled “The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions.”

    1. Thomas,

      What is your point? This is how politics has been conducted since John Kennedy revolutionized the process in 1960. Our politicians routinely lie to us, and have done so since Eisenhower showed it could be done with response from the public.

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