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Two Days in September

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“Two Days in September”
by David Stockman
“I accept chaos. I’m not sure whether it accepts me.”
–Bob Dylan, 
on the back cover of “Brining It All Back Home” (1965)
“September 11 is a day of reflection. It’s 18 years since the 20th century ended and the 21st century began. It’s appropriate that the Donald finally got to whip out his “You’re fired!” act again, this time on John Bolton, yesterday, and not today. It’s a small move. But it is against the Warfare State, neocons and neoliberals, and their perpetual intervention all over the planet.
Indeed, September 11 changed everything. We’re much more “Empire of Tyranny” than “Empire of Liberty,” and that must make Jefferson weep. That Eisenhower basically predicted as much makes it even more galling. And it’s my generation that allowed Leviathan – and we must include the Welfare State in that aspersion – to fester. September 10 will never be what its successor is. Better, though, that a transition to modesty be quieter.
As Zero Hedge notes, “The tipping point happened when Bolton expressed his displeasure with Trump’s impromptu invitation of the Taliban to Camp David on the week of the September 11 anniversary, a peace overture which as we reported over the weekend, collapsed in the last moment.” In other words, the Donald fired his National Security Advisor for actively undermining an effort to end the war in Afghanistan. That’s “Great Disruptor” stuff.
And it has acolytes of American Empire from Mitt Romney, Senator from Utah and erstwhile Republican presidential candidate, to Chris Murphy, Senator from Connecticut and incipient Democratic presidential candidate, praising the warmonger and/or lamenting the void his absence creates. What they’re really mourning is the threat to the gravy train.
Since the end of the Cold War in 1990, U.S. defense spending has increased 182% in nominal terms. It’s up 44% in real terms. And the Office of Management and Budget says defense spending will be an all-time record in 2020.
Look, the president’s next National Security Advisor won’t be a top academic/reliable policy hand/smooth Inside-the-Beltway operator. That’s not what he does. But they won’t be John Bolton. And John Bolton was World War III’s greatest advocate.
I don’t put a lot of stock in Mainstream Media’s running meme that the Donald is a fount of endless lies. Most of what they call “lies” are debatable facts and factoids about propositions they don’t like. The best example is the Russia Collusion story, which has been bogus from day one. It was actually an attempt by Democrats and their Deep State apparatchiks to reverse the outcome of a presidential election.
But there can be no doubt that the Donald will let loose a whopper from time to time. The best example is probably the Monday morning, August 26, tweet after he saw the futures market deep in the red. You see, that followed the 800-point carnage from his exercise in Trade War lunacy the preceding Friday.
To try to stem the tide – and the near certainty that important technical points would have been violated – the Tweeter-in-Chief claimed from Biarritz, France, that “China called last night” indicating a desire to resume trade talks. He later elaborated that two “high-level” Chinese officials had reached out to the White House, essentially begging to restart the stalled negotiations.
The Chinese immediately denied the claim. But, by then, the robo-machines had already hit their ignition keys. White House insiders eventually confessed the ruse. But that’s just the way it is, folks: The Great Disruptor is going to create volatility.”


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