Where does power lie?

Turner, over at 4&20, demonstrates something I’ve said repeatedly here, that ignorance is no crime. It is is easily remedied. Stupidity cannot be fixed, but ignorance can. We are all ignorant about most things.

Turner asks very good questions, and needs now only to turn his own mind on the answers rather than waiting for them to fall in place in the comment stream. Here’s part of his question:

I’d like those who claim there are puppeteers running our elections, our economy, everything else, to come up with a few names. I’m aware of billionaires and organizations like the Koch bros, ALEC, and Adelman — and a few on the left, too.

But is there a hard-to-identify cadre of puppeteers? Are they conspiring closely or are they a loose group? Or are they in competition for the job of chief puppeteer? Do they have agents manipulating both political parties? If so, down to what level — state, county, municipal?

While Turner’s question is a good one, answering it takes work.

Of course, the problem is that we don’t really know where power lies, except generally. For example, when Elliot Spitzer was removed as governor of New York, it was easy to see that “Wall Street bankers” took him out. Prostitutes are common currency in finance and politics, so Spitzer’s behavior was not unusual. But he, among all potential targets, was taken down. By whom?

When Spiro T. Agnew was taken down as Vice President, it was easy to see that it was done in anticipation of Nixon being taken down … they were clearing the path. Who was doing that?

When you delve into things like the JFK assassination, it is mind-boggling! It appears that everyone in the government was part of a plot, but they were just tools and toys. With JFK’s murder private citizens have done good work and identified shooters and agencies like CIA and FBI and Office of Naval Intelligence and mobsters. We even know that LBJ six months before the assassination knew something was up and asked that his own security be tightened (according to then-Washington DC police inspector Joe Shimon).

Nixon said of Watergate “It all goes back to the Bay of Pigs.” According to his aide H.R. Haldeman, the Bay of Pigs was code for the assassination. (Pop quiz: There were four U.S. presidents in Dallas on 11/22/63. Who were they?)

We know a lot, but cannot answer Turner’s question.

Carroll Quigley in his book Tragedy and Hope named some names, and claimed that there was a group of bankers behind most major events, but it’s not that simple. Quigley’s book is thirteen hundred pages and if you want to talk about it you’d better read it. That’s a problem: So much information, so little time.

Here is just a tantalizing tidbit from Quigley’s tome:

Financial capitalism lasted longer in France than in any other major country. The roots of financial capitalism there, like Holland but unlike Germany, go back to the period of commercial capitalism which preceded the Industrial Revolution. These roots grew rapidly in the last half of the eighteenth century and were well established with the founding of the Bank of France in 1800. At that date, financial power was in the hands of about ten or fifteen private banking houses whose founders, in most cases, had come from Switzerland in the second half of the eighteenth century. These bankers, all Protestant, were deeply involved in the agitations leading up to the French Revolution. When the revolutionary violence got out of hand, they were the chief forces behind the rise of Napoleon, whom they regarded as the restorer of order. As a reward for this support, Napoleon, in 1800, gave these bankers a monopoly over French financial life by giving them the new Bank of France. By 1811 most of these bankers had gone over to the opposition to Napoleon because they objected to his continuation of a warlike policy. (P515)

There’s more, much more in that book about the who’s and why’s and how’s of manipulations leading up to its publishing date in 1965. And there are problems – the book, to me, appears to be a golden apple, a deliberate leak along the lines of the Pentagon Papers, a limited hangout, something meant to be found. It is tantalizing, but protects real power more than exposing it. Quigley claims to have published it against the wishes of people that wanted such information kept quiet. He thought their work and objectives noble.

Maybe he published it over objections. I doubt it. They had power. He didn’t.

Buckminster Fuller analyzed the historical origins of real power, noting that it almost always chooses to stay quiet and hidden. In his mind, the first real concentration of power lay in the hands of those who could marshal the resources necessary to build the ships that sailed the ocean and eventually made Britain the rulers of the world. They were nobles and lords, kings and queens, but Fuller claimed that by 1776 real power in England was not King George or the royal family, but rather the British East India Company.

There’s something to that. Our famous Boston Tea Party, now obfuscated in our history books as a protest against the crown, was actually aimed at the owners of the tea thrown in the water: the British East India Company.

imageFuller claims that while on the surface the British Crown lost the Revolutionary War, British East India Company did not, and merely changed puppets. It moved as easily in the colonies as it did in the mother country. He offers as evidence the fact that the flag of the thirteen colonies, with its (coincidental) thirteen stripes, was the British East India Company flag with slight modifications. All that George Washington and Betsy Ross did that day was to place a few stars in the blue field to obfuscate the origin of the flag.

There’s more, much more of course, and so much we don’t know about who is real power now. Bill Clinton said that “There’s a secret government, inside the government…and I don’t control it.” When he crossed it he did not stare directly into the sun. All the people about him began to act strangely, and suddenly his nighttime activities were public knowledge. Monica Lewinsky, most likely one of scores of paramours (it’s a lonely office) became a household word. He had done something wrong, crossed power. When he buckled under and attacked Serbia, Monica faded into the sunset.

That’s how they roll. These days, White House security, the best in the world, is routinely breached by oddballs crossing the fence and gaining entrance. Again, people around the president are behaving mysteriously. Power is speaking.

Nothing is ever as it appears. Never believe the news. Never trust people who appear to have power, as real power never shows itself. JFK was just a man, but an arrogant one who really thought he could exercise the power of the office of president without blowback. That’s part of the problem of aristocrats. JFK, already wealthy, had a powerful daddy who greased his path. He had not been properly bought before taking office. He stumbled on real power. Out of the woodwork came CIA, FBI, mafia, military and the media, all tools of real hidden power. They murdered him in broad daylight, a nice trick, but have also covered it up for fifty years. That is real power.

So that power is still there. I can tell by the way that people behave, pretending to believe bullshit stories about magic bullets, that they are scared. People who mess with real power die, resign, disappear, or are smeared. Buckling under is the best way to stay alive and thrive.

But before JFK was shot, some one, or some small group somewhere – on Wall Street or in London or in Langley or maybe Georgetown or some other unknown location – decided that all of the other players had permission to act. They did not all at once decide to play their various roles. It came from a central source.

Who are they? Who? Who?

Turner asks a great question. If he waits for the answer to fall in his lap, as most do*, he’ll go to his grave not knowing. Asking a question is only the first step. Seeking the answer is step two.

Step three, finding the answer, might take a lifetime, and then some.
*Most do not even ask the question. Turner is an exception.
PS: Almost forgot: JFK, LBJ, RMN, GHWB

About Mark Tokarski

Just a man who likes to read, argue, and occasionally be surprised.
This entry was posted in American wilderness, Education, History, History as it is rewritten. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Where does power lie?

  1. steve kelly says:

    Excellent piece. Thanks Mark.

    JFK speech pulls no punches.


    • Indeed. JFK did not seem to know to stfu.

      I forgot to use my black hole metaphor for this piece – that we only know where black holes lay by the behavior of the celestial bodies around them. So too with power.


      • Steve W says:

        Strange, I just saw the House of Yes last night and the last photograph (Jackie in Pink and matching pill box hat) plays a more than passing role in the movie.


  2. Big Swede says:

    Here’s an example of a puppeteer. Not running our elections per say but writing law that the ones we elect would neither read nor digest.


    • Sometimes I get a sense that you read perhaps the opening line before you post things and then by tortuous verbal exercise squeeze in your silly links, but this time I am dumbfounded, per say, at how you think that link has any bearing on anything here.


      • Big Swede says:

        It’s a response to Turner’s question on just who runs things.

        My response as enhanced by the linked video it’s not necessarily the puppet masters when it come to money and influence but ultimately resides in the authors of these monstrosities.

        And Steve there’s been no mention by the MSM about this admission. FOX and the internet have been the only source showing it.


        • Didn’t read it. Right?

          (This is an edited addition to the above, and will not reach Swede):

          Swede is functionally illiterate. He is incapable of concentrating on sentences and paragraphs. His means of comprehension are 1) visual. If he sees someone speaking and likes what her hears (not reads), he will repeat it on blogs via a link. 2)Aural. If he hears Rush or someone refer to written words, he will link to those words.(Rush and the others probably provide links on their websites).

          These then are the origins of Swede’s web arguments. He does not, cannot read. It is a sad state, I do not wish him harm or shame. It is just sad.


          • Big Swede says:

            You’re awfully narrow minded.

            The big picture I’m trying to portray runs contrary to your conspiracies that ultimate power flows from oligarchs, capitalists or even a cabal of some military force. The Utube proves beyond a shadow of a doubt, unlike some of your fantasies, that legislative power flows from liberal academia. Professor Gruber himself has stated his intentions publicly at least three times in recorded lectures. Professor Gruber also met several times at the White House prior to the introduction of the bill.

            You can insult me all you want Mark because insults more often are a deflection, or a unwillingness to debate the points, links, or quotes that I provide.


          • Honest answer here Swede: What is the last book you read, when did you read it?


          • Big Swede says:

            George Washington’s Secret Six.

            Just listened to it Tuesday on the way back from Seattle.


          • Listening to a condensed book is not reading. Do you also take Readers Digest? Do you ever listen to anything that upends your perception?

            Or do you quietly go about confirmation bias, day in, day out … ?


          • Big Swede says:

            I suppose I could’ve wasted my day listening to some ball game.

            My wife and I frequently listen to book CD’s when we travel.


          • This does nothing to allay my suspicions that you are incapable of focusing on the printed word, exercising critical judgement as you pore over thousands of words.


          • Big Swede says:

            If that were true then I would hold in common a trait that our politicians possess.

            To quote the past Speaker of the House, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it”.


          • This is why you are so goddamned frustrating. You don’t read. You can’t fathom politics below a surface reading. Here’s the relevant line from the post you did not (were not able to) read:

            Nothing is ever as it appears. Never believe the news. Never trust people who appear to have power, as real power never shows itself.

            I know you cannot comprehend that sentence, so please just do me a favor and stfu.


          • What I said to Eric yesterday applies to you too: If politics is a pond, you are a water skipper.


          • Big Swede says:

            We’ll see. This Gruber stuff is about ready to explode. When that happens we’ll see just who has the power and who doesn’t.


  3. steve kelly says:

    Monkey see — saw it on FOX — monkey do. Give you a banana if you do a little dance next time, Swede.


  4. I read Kerouac’s On the Road some years back – it is a widely panned book. Truman Capote said “That’s not writing. That’s typing.” The book left me feeling empty and sad, and slowly I realized that this was its intent – not that the words taken line-by-line have any importance, but rather that taken as a whole they achieve the author’s objective, to paint a picture of a pointless existence in the post-war era.

    Non-fiction is not much different in that regard – there are thousands of books out there, and if we regularly expose ourselves to them, no one book matters much. Over time, and it takes time, the real meaning of various words begins to percolate to the surface. But we have to read regularly. No other medium serves that purpose, not TV, movies, radio or Internet.


  5. Again, Swede, and I can speak for all bloggers at this moment, we would so appreciate it if you would fucking read what is written before jumping in drop your comments.

    I know you think this Gruber matter is of huge importance, and I imagine it is all over talk radio. But what the fuck? So what? We, the bloggers, were telling you at the time that the bill was written by AHIP, Liz Fowler, and that Baucus and Obama were water carriers, that the bill that passed in the fall of 2009 was the exact same bill that was introduced in the spring of 2009, that it was designed to protect the health insurance cartel, that it was done to ward off single payer at the state level and that most who voted for or against it did not know what it contained.

    And becasue you don’t fucking read anything, it all blew right by you. And now you think you are fucking onto something new and big.

    Jesus Swede, please, and I speak for everyone, go fuck yourself.

    Here’s a story for you. This is not new. Elected officials don’t write bills anymore. They are written by lobbyists and given to elected people to sponsor. Way back when Burns was Senator, he sponsored a wilderness bill, and the original bill that he sponsored that was introduced over his name had on the bottom of each page the fax information for Montana Wood Products Association. They had written the bill. They faxed it to him. He introduced it without even bothering to put it on clean paper. He had no clue what was in it.

    This is not new, Swede. Pay attention now and then. Have your wife read things to you if you cannot read yourself.


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