Three Things: Still Active Measures

[Note the byline. This post contains some speculative content. / ~Rayne]

Whether counter-arguments or conspiracy theories, it’s interesting how certain narratives are pushed when tensions rise. But are they really theories or conditioning? And if conditioning, could other media infrastructure changes create more successful conditioning?

~ 3 ~

In an interview with Fox News post-Helsinki summit, Vladmir Putin made a point of blaming the Democratic Party for “manipulations of their party.”

…“The idea was about hacking an email account of a Democratic candidate. Was it some rigging of facts? Was it some forgery of facts? That’s the important thing that I am trying to — point that I’m trying to make. Was this — any false information planted? No. It wasn’t.”

The hackers, he said, entered “a certain email account and there was information about manipulations conducted within the Democratic Party to incline the process in favor of one candidate.” …

Have to give Putin props for sticking with a game plan — increase friction within the American left and fragment Democratic Party support to the benefit of Trump and the Republican Party at the polls and ultimately Putin himself if sanctions are lifted. Christopher Steele indicated in the Trump-Russia dossier that the Kremlin was using active measures to this effect in 2016 to widen the divide between Sanders and Clinton supporters; apparently left-splitting active measures continue.

But this is only part of an attack on the Democratic Party; another narrative undermines both the DNC and the FBI by questioning the investigation into the DNC’s hacking. Why didn’t the FBI take possession of the server itself rather than settle for an image of the system? A key technical reason is that any RAM-resident malware used by hackers will disappear into the ether if the machine is turned off; other digital footprints found only in RAM memory would likewise disappear. “The server” isn’t one machine with a single hard drive, either, but 140 devices — some of which were cloud-based. Not exactly something the FBI can power down and take back to a forensic lab with ease, especially during the hottest part of a campaign season.

But these points are never effectively made as a counter narrative, though some have tried with explainers, and certainly not featured in broadcast or cable news programs. The doubt is left to hang in the public’s consciousness, conditioning them to question FBI’s competence and the validity of their investigative work.

If Putin is still using active measures to divide Democratic Party voters, is it possible this narrative about the hacked DNC server is also an ongoing active measure? What if the active measure isn’t meant to undermine the FBI by questioning its actions? What if instead the lingering doubt is intended to shape future investigations into hacked materials which may also rely on server images rather than physical possession of the hardware? What if this active measure is pre-crime, intended to tamper with future evidence collection?

~ 2 ~

I’d begun drafting this post more than a week ago, but came to a halt when FCC chair Ajit Pai did something surprisingly uncorrupt by putting the brakes on the Sinclair-Tribune merger.

Sinclair Broadcast Group is a propaganda outlet masquerading as a broadcast media company. The mandatory airing of Boris Epsteyn’s program across all Sinclair stations offers evidence of Sinclair’s true raison d’etre; Epsteyn is a Russian-born former GOP political strategist who has been responsible for messaging in both the McCain-Palin campaign and the Trump administration, including the egregious 2017 Holocaust Remembrance Day statement which omitted any mention of Jews. The mandatory statement Sinclair management forced its TV stations to air earlier this year about “fake news” is yet another. The forced ubiquity and uniformity of messaging is a new element at Sinclair, which already had a history of right-wing messaging including the attempt to run a Kerry-bashing political movie to “swiftboat” the candidate just before the 2004 elections.

Sinclair and Tribune Media announced a proposed acquisition deal last May. If approved, the completed acquisition would give Sinclair access to 72% of U.S. homes — an insanely large percentage of the local broadcast TV market effectively creating a monopoly. There was bipartisan Congressional pushback about this deal because of this perceived potential monopoly.

FCC’s Ajit Pai wanted to relax regulations covering UHF stations — they would be counted as less than a full VHF station and therefore appear to reduce ownership of marketshare. Democrats protested this move as it offered Sinclair unfavorable advantage when evaluating stations it would acquire or be forced to sell during its Tribune acquisition.

Fortunately, Pai had “serious concerns” about the Sinclair-Tribune deal:

We have no idea to which administrative judge this deal may be handed, let alone their sentiments on media consolidation. We don’t know if this judge might be Trump-friendly and rule in favor of Sinclair, taking this horror off Ajit Pai’s back — which might be the real reason Pai punted after his egregious handling of net neutrality and the pummeling he’s received for it, including the hacking of the FCC’s comments leading up to his decision to end Obama-era net neutrality regulations and subsequent “misleading” statements to the media about the hack. New York State is currently investigating misuse of NY residents’ identities in the hack; one might wonder if Pai is worried about any personal exposure arising from this investigation.

BUT WAIT…the reason I started this post began not in New York but in the UK, after reading that Remain turnout may have been suppressed by news reports about “travel chaos,” bad weather, and long lines at the polls. Had the traditional media played a role in shaping turnout with its reporting?

I went looking for similar reports in the U.S. — and yes, news reports of long lines may have discouraged hundreds of thousands of voters in Florida in 2012. This wasn’t the only location with such reports in the U.S. during the last three general elections; minority voters are also far more likely to experience these waits than voters in majority white areas.

Probabilistic reports about a candidate’s win/loss may also suppress turnout, according to a Pew Research study.

Think about low-income voters who can’t afford cable TV or broadband internet, or live in a rural location where cable TV and broadband internet isn’t available. What news source are they likely to rely upon for news about candidates and voting, especially local polling places?

Hello, local broadcast network television station.

Imagine how voter turnout could be manipulated with reports of long lines and not-quite-accurate probabilistic reports about candidates and initiatives.

Imagine how a nationwide vote could be manipulated by a mandatory company-wide series of reports across a system of broadcast TV stations accessing 72% of U.S. homes.

How else might a media company with monopolistic access to American households condition the public’s response to issues?

~ 1 ~

There was all kinds of hullabaloo about the intersection of retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy, his son Justin, and Justin’s employment at Deutsche Bank at the same time DB extended financing to Donald Trump. It looks bad on the face of it.

And of course one prominent defense-cum-fact-check portrays Justin’s relationship to DB’s loans to Trump as merely administrative:

The extent to which Kennedy worked with Trump on this loan, or possibly on other Deutsche Bank matters, is unclear. “In that role, as the trader, he would have no contact with Trump … unless Eric [Schwartz] was trying to get Justin in front of Trump for schmoozing reasons,” Offit said, adding that he had recently spoken with former colleagues at the bank about Kennedy’s work.

Seems odd there has been little note made of Jared Kushner’s relationship with LNR Partners LLC — a company which Manta says has only 17 employees — and its subsidiary LNR Property which financed the Kushner 666 Fifth Avenue property in 2012. There was a report in Medium and another on DailyKos but little note made in mainstream news media.

I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that along with his business partner, Justin Kennedy was named 26th on the 50 Most Important People in Commercial Real Estate Finance in 2013 by the Commercial Observer — a publication of Observer Media, then owned by Jared Kushner.

I wonder what Justin’s rank was on this list while he worked at Deutsche Bank (also with current business partner Toby Cobb).

How odd this deal and the relationship wasn’t defended. I guess it’s just coincidence all the amphibians and reptiles know each other well in the swamp.

~ 0 ~

Let’s not forget:

587 Puerto Rican homes still don’t have electricity.

All asylum seeking families haven’t been reunited. Children may still be in danger due to poor care and lack of adequate tracking. As of yesterday only 364 children of more than 2500 torn from their families were reunited.

Treat this as an open thread.

51 replies
  1. Charlie says:

    This is a very clear sighted vision of what is happening with these swamp characters and the manipulation that is going on. Thank you.

  2. frs says:

    Rayne with regard to the Sinclair deal.  What the FCC did was not so much against Sinclair as it was for Fox.  Murdoch has had a great few weeks as every decision has gone his way.  I do not know what the dynamic is between Murdoch and Trump except they are both total sleaze.

      • frs says:

        They are just letting go of their non-propaganda arm to focus on their propaganda machine – Fox News, WSJ, NYPost and the British rags that support Brexit.


    • Rayne says:

      I don’t know that it was about Fox. I can think of Fox affiliate stations owned by Sinclair already — Fox doesn’t operate them, Sinclair does and they haven’t had a problem with that relationship. Must think of Fox as national content production and Sinclair as local infrastructure operation. Sinclair buying a larger portion of the local station infrastructure means that the portion of national content not provided by network affiliates will be Sinclair produced or bought.

      I suspect Newsgroup has other plans for the cash from their sales of 21st Century Fox to Disney.

      • frs says:

        You may be right but hard to explain why the FCC is giving Sinclair a hard time right now.  Trump’s minion is focused on replacing the MSM with their own propaganda machine or are they already co-opting the MSM?   It is interesting how the NY Times came out with the Cohen tape story yesterday and now are told it was Trump’s camp that released it.  Reminds me of Judith Miller releasing Cheney’s phony stories in the build-up to the war.

        • Rayne says:

          That’s why I wonder if Pai is worried about his own ass. I can’t see projection here which is so typical in this administration. And I haven’t seen anything convincing in financial market news suggesting it’s for Newsgroup’s benefit.

        • Koolmoe says:

          It would seem to me that Pai is definitely…more aware that eyes are on him given the Net Neutrality debacle, and this shady station divesture into essential shell companies where Sinclair retains control…was just too risky for him to sign-off on.

          Reportedly Sinclair is restructuring the spinoffs… So we’ll see; does Ajit actually have some other motivation…or as long as the deal isn’t *too* slimy, he’ll sign off.

          This is a good read:

      • Bob Conyers says:

        It’s possible Verizon, Comcast, etc. are opposed to Sinclair getting even more leverage when negotiating for the carriage of local stations. If Verizon and Sinclair get in a fight down the road over fees extracted from FIOS customers, you can be sure Pai doesn’t want to be blamed for giving Sinclair a leg up.

  3. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The hard right considers the removal of statutes of leading Confederate/Insurrectionist rebels to be “forgetting” or erasing history.  That’s as ironic as the bootstrap capitalist luxuriating in his government salary, pension, healthcare, roads, bridges, libraries, fire and police departments, and PX privileges.  (A good example of the effectiveness of right wing propaganda.)

    Removing statutes of rebels and slave holders is not erasing history.  It is placing that history in context.  That’s especially true when most of those statues were put up only about a hundred years ago, to bolster Jim Crow.

    It is refusing to glorify the violence, cruelty, and crime required to hold slaves and to wage armed insurrection to preserve the right to do so.  It is not a problem limited to Koch University, aka, Florida State University, or to the US.

    In Bristol, England, there is also a continuing controversy over removing the various statues, portraits of, and dedications to Edward Colston, one of England’s great slave traders.  Bristol was the home port for many of the ships involved in what American high school history euphemistically labels “triangular trade.”

    Only after inquiry is it clear that all three sides of the triangle involve slavery.  The capture, imprisonment and transport of slaves is one side.  Sugar and its processed distillate, rum, is another side.  Ignored is that neither product would have existed but for slave labor.  The third side, goods traded in exchange for African slaves, were paid for by the wealth derived from slave labor.  So triangular trade is simply a polite name for the slave trade.

    Should capitalists’ end-of-life philanthropy excuse the ways in which they accrued their wealth?  Colston’s slave ships.  Carnegie’s dark satanic mills.  Rockefeller’s predatory global monopoly.  Or the Duke and Wills families tobacco monopolies (Duke and Bristol universities, respectively).  IMHO, the ends never justify the means.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        The link is a friendly, washed url to a Daily Beast article.  But the fighter question still remains.

        On a more upbeat note, press reports of Paul Simon’s farewell tour in Europe suggest he’s putting on a fantastic show.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Execrable he is, but he must have patrons at least as terrible.  His tour highlights what others here have said for some time.  The neofascist-cum-disaster capitalist renaissance is organized, well-funded, and programmatic.

      Footloose global capital may be, but it still needs territorial bases from which to sally forth and in which to protect capital.  Especially with the growing and informed attacks on secrecy jurisdictions, and tax and money laundering havens.  However feeble, they are a threat.

      Like Trump and Brexit, Unite the Right appears to be an outgrowth of capital’s having cast off national loyalty for opportunistic loyalty.  Whoever provides the most subsidies and most secure haven for capital receives support and the right to bid to be the second global headquarters.  Instead of just one overgrown digital retailer, it is a fight for global capital itself.  That would make Bannon’s efforts a kind of terraforming, establishing national bolt holes for wealth.

      Bannon’s efforts might also represent a kind of genetic mutation.  International corporatist treaties, like the TPP, are useful.  But they still depend on nation states.

      The latter are subject to recurrent bouts of progressivism, never more so than when capital succeeds in tearing down state social safety nets.  Acquiring whole states, or at least control of the state apparatus most useful to footloose capital, is a way to survive a setback in any one state.

      • Charlie says:

        Have been looking into Steve Bannon’s new ventures in Europe. The movement he’s starting is, unsurprisingly, called The Movement. Think it’s likely that millionaire Aaron Banks (who backed the Brexit campaign) will be one of those involved in funding. There’s also likely to be Russian money as they already have form having backed Le Pen’s Front National in the French elections.
        EU is already fighting a rearguard action with Orban in Hungary and the Law and Order Party in Poland not to mention what’s happening in Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Slovenia, The Netherlands and even Germany with AfD. According to Bannon, its aim is to rival George Soros’s Open Society. There are European parliamentary elections next year and he plans to have loads of right wing populists elected. Think that the EU is already on its last legs and this could be the coup de grace. Funny, not, that these groups often like to have Freedom or True in their party name.
        All this, of course, ties in with so called populist/authoritarian/neoliberal governments all over the world:- Duterte in The Philippines, Erdogan in Turkey, Modi in India, JinPing in China, Kim in N Korea, Putin in Russia and then there’s Africa. No won’t even go there.

        • Rayne says:

          I think we are looking at a secondary reason why Russia has been fueling the drive to nationalism: create friction before China’s Belt-and-Road initiative makes trading with China very easy across the western part of the Eurasian continent. If trade with EU and Middle East becomes nearly frictionless with a country of +1B people, what need is there for Russia which may be more corrupt in its business dealings?

  4. melior says:

    Here’s a bit of additional evidence that active measures are ongoing, in plain sight, as recently as earlier this week, that hasn’t gotten enough notice.

    We’re all familiar with Trump’s characteristic style of Twitter-speak, with rambling sentences, all caps phrases, grammatical errors, newly coined slang nicknames, etc. So when a complete sentence springs up fully formed in formal English phrasing with no slang or allcaps or contractions or abbreviations we naturally take it as an indication that it was penned by someone besides the Donald.

    So, who wrote this one? And why did they choose this particular example to make their point?

    “Unfortunately, no matter how well I do at the Summit, if I was given the great city of Moscow as retribution for all of the sins and evils committed by Russia… — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2018 …over the years, I would return to criticism that it wasn’t good enough – that I should have gotten Saint Petersburg in addition!”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      One thing is clear.  Trump does not know that much about Russian geography.  He did not write the tweet.

      It’s an obvious straw man.  The issue is not diplomacy.  Diplomacy requires being genteel in public, and working hard behind the scenes to present and fight over difficult problems, while preserving an ability for both sides to compromise.

      That takes a lot of talent, preparation, and experience to do successfully.  The people with those skills were the same people that Trump and Tillerson worked hard to make leave the Trump State Department.  Another Putin goal?

      The real issue is that Trump gives all the appearance of not fighting at all for his side, but for the other.

      Trump dodges that obvious conclusion by claiming his critics would never find his work acceptable.  No matter what prize he won, his critics (like his daddy) would demand another.  (That happens to be how Trump works, reneging on promises and withholding approval.)

      Whoever wrote it, the tweet is more garden variety bullshit from Trump’s White House.

      • Trip says:

        Well, how well did he do at the summit? No one has any idea. When the entire thing is hush hush, super secret, no one but Trump allowed in, and the big claims of progress he touts is about letting an ex-diplomat get harassed by Russian intelligence, we’re all supposed to applaud and holler “good boy!”, like the first time a kid shows you his poo in a potty? All of his staff still had to wipe his ass after the episode, lol. Nice mess, Mr President! We’ll clean it up with “wouldn’t”.

        • earlofhuntingdon says:

          That no one has any idea how well Trump did demonstrates that he failed miserably.  QED.

  5. Frank Probst says:

    Question for @bmaz and the other lawyers about the Trump/Cohen tape about McDougal:  This sounds like Trump having a conversation with his attorney about a possible contract agreement.  Wouldn’t this be covered by attorney/client privilege?  It’s hard to believe that Special Master’s team would have missed this.  Is it possible that this tape WAS flagged as privileged, and Cohen or someone close to him is leaking it to the press anyway?

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Odd to waive a valid privilege about a conversation that apparently demonstrates that the president is a liar, on an issue that might demonstrate an awkward pattern of behavior or that he received one (or more) illegal campaign contribution(s).

        Did they conclude the privilege was not valid or were they picking their battles and giving up snippets to distract the public, while saving resources for bigger fights to come?

          • Trip says:

            He’s even trying to jump-start the NFL anthem crap again. Any minute now, next subject HILLARY! YAY!

          • earlofhuntingdon says:

            Dumpster fire!  Dumpster fire!  Look away!  Look away!

            Trump volunteers to waive privilege, claiming “it” was already out there.  BS.  Rudy 911 claims it was entirely exculpatory.  BS.  Trump lambastes Cohen on twitter for recording something in a state that requires only one side’s permission to record.  A state Trump has worked in for over fifty years, which means he knew he was lying.  BS.

            Entirely manufactured conflict.  Entirely self-defeating.  Trump is a helluva lot more afraid of something else coming down the pike.  A helluva lot more afraid.

            Amazing, though, how Trump discovers gambits like this when his own ass is on the line.  it is another piece of evidence that Trump’s behavior in Russia and with Putin is voluntary and about protecting his own ass.  In this case, it is by submitting to Putin, however much vig he charges.

            Trump is protecting himself, not American interests.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Ordinarily, a conversation between an attorney and her client about settling a disputed matter involving that client would be privileged.  The client owns the privilege, and only the client could waive it. 

      That can be done expressly, preferably in writing, or by the client’s behavior.  One example is the client talking about the conversation or the matter with others who are not his personal attorneys.

      For the court to find that the conversation was not privileged, it would have to have found something that either waived privilege or put the conversation outside of privilege.  A simple waiver, lying to the court, the crime-fraud exception, or something else.

  6. Bob Conyers says:

    Part of me feels like the takeover of local TV news wouldn’t be such a big deal, since it’s already awful. I suspect the number one cause of White flight from the 60s on was the local news mantra “If it Bleeds, it Leads.” I think few things have done more to harden suburban hearts than the relentless segments starting with a shot of police tape illuminated by blinking patrol car lights, followed by the pointless shoving of a microphone in someone’s face with a question such as “does this happen here a lot?”

    But I’m also aware that Sinclair can make things even worse. They could hand down edicts to turn the big city bashing up to 11, and start putting Gorka in charge of the weather forecasts: “In Hungary, after they fired all of the ‘media elites’ you stopped hearing all of the global warming alarmists tell you that a 80 degree day in March was a bad thing, and that’s what we’re looking at all this weekend. You like wearing low cut outfits in March, don’t you Trish? Anyway, all of you honest Americans will appreciate the totally reasonable summer-like temperatures this Lenten weekend to worship your Judeo-Christian God out of doors…”

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      It can always get worse.  Many people still rely on the US Mail, to receive and pay bills and taxes, to receive and respond to voter registration issues.  They have no or no reliable access to digital media.

      By the same token, millions of people rely on local TV news and weather.  Monopoly control of that would lead to significant, inescapable distortions in opinion toward the views of the person in monopoly control.

  7. Canucklehead says:

    Looks like the Cohen leak came from the Trump side…anything for a distraction. Trump doesn’t mind this type of bad press…moves the news away from Helsinki, and let’s his base stare at pictures of the Playmate their hero conquered. That’s our Trump!

  8. earlofhuntingdon says:

    Dan Coats is in trouble for being honestly aghast at Trump’s invitation to Putin, following so swiftly on Trump’s globally panned meeting in Helsinki.  His surprise was natural, given that Trump made the move without informing his own top intelligence officer.

    Mea culpa follows.  They are usually not enough for the Don.  His ego normally requires expressions of cruelty and public humiliation.

  9. earlofhuntingdon says:

    That Brett Kavanaugh credit card history begs a lot of questions. They need answers.

  10. earlofhuntingdon says:

    The Guardian does no favors for their reporter, David Smith, and his reasonable article on last week’s Trump debacles, with this front-page headline:

    “Trump derangement syndrome” – the week America went mad

    “Derangement syndrome” is an irrational mental state, in this case, purportedly irrational objection to Trump’s behavior.  Breitbart loves the phrase.  It’s a variation on an earlier rightwing dig at critics of George W. Bush’s deceitful, irrational, and ignorant behavior.

    The phrase is most often used by the right to criticize Trump critics, but it is entering the mainstream.  The LAT dishes a lot of snark about it here, from before Trump’s inauguration.  Adam Gopnik has a better critique of it, here, explaining over a year ago that the reactions to Trump’s behavior were more rational than Trump.

    I can’t decide whether David Smith’s editors at the Guardian chose that off-putting headline because they were rabid for more clickbait or didn’t like their reporter.  Were they hungry for more street cred as a centrist MSM source.  Or, did they need to undercut a useful critique of the American president, who is none too happy with Theresa May just now.  Or, all of the above.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      A more accurate headline would have been:

      The Week Americans Got Mad at Their President

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Gopnik’s assessment:

      Our problem is not Trump Derangement Syndrome; our problem is Deranged Trump Self-Delusion.

      The Guardian’s editors need to do a better job, or explain better what their job is. And this:

      The problem is that he is the President of the United States, and that the one appetite that he does have is for announcing his authority through violence, a thing capable of an unimaginable resonance and devastation. That’s the only Trump Syndrome we ought to worry about, and it can become deranged.

    • Trip says:

      Assholes like Rand Paul contribute. When people had criticism of the Putin summit, his retort was that people just hate Trump. As if people have some irrational dislike of Trump, rather than the reality of disliking him for policy, lack of character and incompetence, but that is a diversion from the critique of the summit and issue.  WTF did Trump accomplish? No one can say. Trump saying he did a great job is not proof of some type of progress.

      They have gone from strawman arguments to ad hominem attacks. Which means, they KNOW Trump is shit. It’s akin to pounding the table and making noise, when the facts are against you.

  11. cat herder says:

    Tom Sullivan posts this David Frum quote at Digby’s this AM:

    “The stability of American society depends on conservatives’ ability to find a way forward from the Trump dead end, toward a conservatism that cannot only win elections but also govern responsibly, a conservatism that is culturally modern, economically inclusive, and environmentally responsible, that upholds markets at home and U.S. leadership internationally.”

    If that’s what conservatives really wanted they could just switch parties.

    • earlofhuntingdon says:

      Frum also warns that Republicans might, in future, give up on democracy.

      As Sullivan notes, Republicans have already occurred, not least in the person of Donald Trump.  It’s one reason the Republicans have so little problem with Trump’s behavior or the idea that he had a lot of help from Putin.

      It’s all about winning.  If democracy gets in the way, too bad for democracy.

      • Trip says:

        The very goal of radical libertarianism is to kill anything resembling democracy; To install hard-right authoritarian governments across the globe. To ‘conserve’ only the power, freedom and wealth of the most upper elite.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Misedit there.  Republicans have already given up on democracy.

        They observe the form of democracy only when they win.  As Sullivan puts it, to them, democracy has become purely decorative, like red, white, and blue bunting.

        Establishment Dems have a similar problem, such as when they attempt to nullify the decisions of primary voters.  Joe Lieberman’s national party assisted defeat – as an independent – of Ned Lamont.

        And Lieberman’s national party-encouraged oped that Joe Crowley should ignore the primary vote count, and run against Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who won a stunning, overwhelming victory against him.

        To paraphrase Franklin, nice democracy you have there, if you can keep it.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        Neoliberalism’s goal from the outset was to insulate the economy – meaning the biggest businesses, their top managers and largest shareholders – from the predations of the democratic state.  Indeed, any state.

        They do it through international institutions, run largely by corporate lobbyists, through corporate interest-dominated trade agreements, and through persistent, enormously well-financed lobbying at the nation state level. They do it through dominating the culture and the academy, controlling the terms of acceptable debate.

        The state creates the market, the corporation, various partnerships and trusts; enforces their contracts; enables preferential rules for business bankruptcies; creates and enforces the rules associated with raising capital through debt and securities markets; creates and enforces the rules, and enforces the tax costs, associated with transferring wealth to others. 

        It negotiates and enforces international trading institutions and treaties. It creates and enforces rules by which businesses are to internalize the workplace, environmental, and other costs of their business.  It determines the rights of labor and other stakeholders.

        In all that, the state is meant to pursue the objectives only of capital, either exclusively or disproportionately.  If it waivers from that purpose, the state becomes a threat to be ignored, subverted, or overcome.

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