A Limited Hangout is the deliberate revelation of some information to try to confuse and/or prevent discovery of other information; a Statecraft technique, using information and disinformation together, to try to suppress the revelation of true information, orchestrated by a State entity, or special interest or group. In George Orwell’s book ‘1984‘ the tyranny of the State was opposed by its arch-foe, Emmanuel Goldstein.
Goldstein was a bin Laden-like character, a fallen former Elitist who founded « The Brotherhood ». Like Osama bin Laden, Goldstein had unbridled access to the media, and his message of opposition to the State was ubiquitous.
In the book 1984, Winston joins « The Brotherhood » and finally learns that Goldstein is a fictional entity created by the State, so that the resistance may be identified and controlled.
But the « 1984 » comparison to modern politics is uncanny on another count, where the Goldstein « threat » is used to justify billions in warfare expenditures. The militarist ‘threat’ here is as close to the portrayal of Saddam Hussein, as Emmanuel Goldstein was close to Osama bin Laden. When a propaganda figure like Goldstein is so useful to promulgate Empire, then why quit with a comparison to the now-deceased OBL or Saddam?
Why not create an entirely new limited hangout and then find its « leader » later on?
Since the blowback of 911 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blowback_(intelligence) many Americans have come to question the central government and its aims. During the Iraq war, antiwar sentiment and a crashed economy annoyed the establishment enough to allow nebulous ‘change’, with the eventual election of Barak Obama.
Obama’s election was a concession to Hamilton’s « Great Beast » to the same extent that the far right was marginalized by it; namely by the end of the Bush-Cheney era. By the end or the Obama regime, the rudderless right constituted a vast disenfranchised segment of the electorate, with some fluent associations.
In a time of high unemployment, bank failures, and a collapsed economy, the Minuteman Project emerged to target immigrants, with much media exposure. The media success of the Minuteman Project led to Tea Party-themed protests in 2009, and an expanded platform to include all sorts of ideology. Railing versus Big Government, against deficit spending, and against hegemonic war.
The Tea Party’s original goal of returning to honest government and to the Founder’s governing principles represented a lot of great working people. But powerful billionaires saw this movement as an opportunity, and bankrolled Tea Party candidates https://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/opinion/29rich.html all across the country, long before Trump.
And since « Big Government » produces big money profits, those billionaires had no intention to challenge military spending — they needed a candidate to champion warfare state spending. Thus the grass root Tea Party movement – originally of noble intent – presented big corporations and their media https://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/15/at-tea-party-rallies-a-fox-news-presence/ with an opportunity to incorporate a corporate-owned propaganda vehicle to control anti-corporate forces, within a movement under corporate control https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2010-09-26/tea-party-takes-control-of-u-s-elections-agenda-albert-r-hunt eventually finding candidate Trump.
Early in his campaign, populist Trump mouthed many Tea Party memes. Trump said he was opposed to the war in Iraq and foreign intervention; he said that McCain and Kissinger were bad guys, that we should have good relations with Russia, penalize corrupt banks, reign in Fed easing and spending, and tax China to save American jobs. The Tea Party had found its candidate.
Trump railed against taxation, against immigration, against Big Government. Trump advocated a radical cut to social spending programs, while encouraging and reinforcing the need for increased military spending, just as his corporate controllers advocated.
And so, we have the Trumpian Limited Hangout. On behalf of its wealthy patrons https://consortiumnews.com/2011/07/21/tea-partys-misguided-love-of-the-rich/ the Tea Party has morphed into the GOP of Donald J Trump.
Trump’s Limited Hangout works when he denounces fake news (which the corporate media truly does promulgate for him) so we believe that the actual propaganda we are exposed to is not truly propaganda. Trump’s fake news is thus a Hegelian dialectic moment; we are led to believe that the party he represents is not owned by mega-Corporations pushing their own agenda https://www.globalresearch.ca/why-are-corporate-groups-funding-the-tea-party/18677
Trump says he “loves Wikileaks” then later on has Julian Assange arrested. He talks about the ‘deep state’ while filling his cabinet with the most heinous and debauched murderers and war criminals presently stalking the earth… at least in terms of their militaristic capability.
Trump calls out the fake media and we believe it; Trump talks about the Deep State and we believe that; Trump professes to oppose the Elites we know have robbed and cheated us, without ever suspecting that Trump himself is the foulest of that class.
Trump’s ideologues call for a return to secure borders, for a « safe » America… an America they knew or their parents knew in the 1950’s, when Central Government was smaller and less inclined to interfere in people’s lives. But instead, Trump – like his predecessor Barak Obama – delivered the party of Wall Street, of hedge fund managers, of military contractors and their subcontractors, and the military itself.
Qui bono? Who benefits? Wall Street wins with share buybacks, and corporate perks and higher dividends; while mega-Corporations pay reduced taxes. The military wins, and their contractors and subcontractors win, while the Beltway Swamp grows ever larger, daily. Israel wins. Saudi wins. It’s the ideal Limited Hang-out in a Trumpian World, the logical corporate takeover of the Tea Party movement. And all the while the « deplorables » believe Trump is doing their bidding.
By this means, the true extent of popular resistance will never be understood by the population at large. We are presented with our new « gatekeepers » … whether fake news, Fox news, or alternative news, the level of disinformation is beyond staggering. To a point where the citizen is either with the State and its propaganda masters, or against it… just as George W Bush said.
And, what of the opposition? One point of this essay is to point out that there is no effective opposition. Liberals are no better. They call for the same incessant, pointless wars for the same reasons that Trump’s cabinet does… profit and power. Corporate welfare and public hand outs to the wealthy and their banks cannot be checked under either party and cannot be ascribed to one party. Or their corporate candidates. Left or right. Indeed, it is the political class itself that is the true avowed enemy of the people.
Now the political class holds absolute power – at least in the west. Along with their endless incessant and pointless wars for profit, power and control, the weaponization of the US financial system is essentially complete too, expanding sanctions to all and sundry who fail to yield to the iron jackboot of hegemonic whim.
Under corporate control, the Trumpian Limited Hangout does not represent any ideal of the Republic, or honesty in government, or non-intervention in pointless provocations. So long as Trump’s Limited Hangout reigns supreme, of whatever flavor* reinforcing a now totally corrupt system, there will be no meaningful change or reform in the west, ever. Only slow inexorable decline as more reasonable states challenge US – Israeli – Saudi hegemony.
Steve Brown is the author of “Iraq: The Road to War” (sourcewatch) editor of “Bush Administration War Crimes in Iraq” (sourcewatch) “Trump’s Limited Hangout” and “Empire By Terror” (Duran, Strategika51 contributor) antiwar activist and monetary system historian.
Exclusively for Strategika 51 Intelligence
* One could also say Biden, however his methods must appear to be different than Trump’s.