Quite a ride this week, I think. Where talk of things like “impeachment” and “resignation” became much more common on both sides of the aisle. Where a pervading sense that the Trump presidency now represents an existential emergency for the United States of America is now widespread, with most polls indicating this feeling is approaching 60% of the people. But – what of the other 40 or so percent?
Well, we can pretty much label about 20% of any given population schizophrenic, and that has nothing to do with political affiliation. Yet schizophrenics have demonstrated affinities for paranoid thought, and readily adopt paranoid conspiracy theories as their own. Think Alex Jones and infowars. Then we have the Fox News set, those indoctrinated into the cult of far-right wing ideologies – and note I’m not calling this group conservative. I don’t think that there is currently a correct moniker for this sub-set – other than angry. I think they’ve leaned conservative because the Republican Party has done a better job of addressing their fears, but they’ve been injudicious consumers of news and so rarely question the veracity of what they consume – or, what they’ve been spoon-fed. A lot of people call Fox News consumers illiterate; I don’t, and I think it’s a mistake to call any such large, amorphous groups ‘names’ – even ‘deplorable,’ – no matter how much, on first glance, the name seems to fit.
So, it’s not difficult to call the 40% +/- that see Trump as their savior as compromised in some way. Possibly schizophrenic, possibly under the sway of what COULD be called a dynamic very similar to many religious cults. And of course there could be overlap between these two sub-sets. Regardless, this group could be considered iron-clad support for Trump going forward simply because no amount of “facts and circumstances” can sway their thinking. This article looks at the implications of the phenomenon.
So, a little context. I just managed to crawl down the hill and attend our monthly Wednesday Night Margarita Bash, but fear not, as I did not, indeed can not, drink. The evening was as instructive as ever, however. I remind you there is a lawyer from the Carter White House in this group, as well as a retired California congressman, so this is a pretty evenly balanced group. So, what are this group’s biggest concerns? Well, a picture’s worth a thousand words.
Or, in this case, the cover of next week’s Time Magazine. Mind you, since the days of Henry Luce, Time has been a conservative magazine, which makes this cover all the more instructive. So, why is this on our little group’s mind?
Let’s call it the sense of Smoke and Mirrors that pervades the news these days. That’s the idea we talked about, so let’s file this entire post under speculative fiction. Like we’ve been channeling the ghost of Tom Clancy.
Remember Tom? Jack Ryan? Red October? Remember Red Storm Rising? Remember the plot? the whole Russia is out to blame Germany for all kinds of stuff the Germans didn’t do. All part of a diversion, wasn’t it? What’s that word? You know, the one all KGB agents learned – when they were in kindergarten?
Was it something like: Mastirovka?
Yes, of course it is.
Simply put, consider the possibility that the Trump freak show is nothing but a well oiled circus-act, a Russian mastirovka. Then consider this map:
Consider the red triangles, at St Petersburg on the Baltic and along the Syrian coast. The orange circle surrounding the Black Sea, well, that’s Crimea jutting down, and that’s the heart of the matter, isn’t it? And consider those blue arrows in Poland, Afghanistan and (roughly) South Korea/Japan? Think of the blue arrows as American aircraft carriers. Really big aircraft carriers, with equally big troop transport ships in tow. Fixed, forward bases that Russia would truly love to have.
Back in 2008, when Ws financial and political crash was just getting under way, Putin practically begged China to call in their markers, to force the US to pay off all our debt to China. The move would have caused a complete implosion of US financial markets, and China knew it, too – so they refused to go along with the plan. Bad for business, I guess. Smart too, in the way not shooting yourself in the foot is smart.
Russia began to see that avenue wouldn’t work going forward, and that they would need to readjust their plans a little. First, they needed to upgrade all that rusting Soviet era hardware, notably tanks, attack and air superiority aircraft, long range Naval Aviation bombers, and finally, missile and naval assets, notably ICBMs & SLBM equipped submarines. Second, Russia still needed a reliable warm water port – other than the orange-circled Black Sea that Crimea represents. These things take time, but to make a long story short those objectives have not just recently been accomplished.
Well, Putin is KGB, so Putin knows how to destabilize regimes. Putin knows how to make countries ungovernable (look at Maduro in Venezuela). Why destabilize Venezuela? So we have to move assets into the Gulf of Mexico, so we have to worry about a domino effect in South America? Keep us off balance, perhaps?
What about North Korea? How’d they go from exploding-on-launch 2-3 MRBMs last month to successfully launching an “new class of ICBM” on Sunday, one large enough to loft a warhead to the Pacific Northwest? Could it be that someone slipped them an extra launcher? Oh, but why do that? Well, why not draw the US eastward, to the Pacific. How’s that sound? But again, why?
Well, with those two things accomplished those three blue arrows are greatly diminished in size, or strength, as US forces are spread to cover more potential conflicts. Okay, got it?
And so, what else do we know. Well, Putin is all about REVENGE. Not against Clinton. No, he simply wants to get America out of his way, then NATO. We destroyed the Soviet Union, and we, therefore, must be destroyed. He swore an oath to do so, after all.
How does Putin do that? What form does his revenge take?
Why, the same way the Soviet Union wanted to. Remove Germany as the center of power in Europe, neutralize NATO and reduce the EU to a satellite state. All in all, the United States matters very little to Russia once that’s accomplished, but not to Putin. He wants total revenge.
So, the weather is getting warm. The snows and ice are melting. Russian forces are moving west again. NATO forces are moving into Poland and the Baltic states. F-35s are rotating to bases in Poland, too, as well as to Japan.
The game is afoot, isn’t it? Cry havoc! Let slip the dogs of war?
So, why did Lavrov go to the Oval Office last week? What did he and Herr Trump talk about, besides compromising, one assumes, an Israeli agent in an off the books talk about ISIS? Maybe when the tanks are scheduled to roll west?
So yeah, the old hands sat around the fire and we talked about “the traitor in the White House,” and the “traitors in the Republican Party.” We talked about the irony of the “America, Love It or Leave It” crowd, and how they’ve been instrumental in Russia’s near-takeover of the American government. Yes, the Republicans, the “Party before Country” crowd. So full of lust now that they control all three branches of government, all the levers of power, so blind to what’s happening – or in so deep, up to their eyeballs deep, they’re nothing less than the worst traitors in world history.
Still, I’m not so sure I agree with all of the above, that good men could be so treacherous, but it’s beginning to sound more and more plausible. My guess is we’ll know within a few weeks what’s been going down behind closed doors for the last year and a half. But the old hands, the White House and Congressional veterans in our little group are beginning to think there may be a lot of traitors in government.
Paranoia? Yeah, maybe. But paranoid enough?
If it’s been a while since you made it through Red Storm Rising, well, this might be a good time for a refresher. It’s on iBooks, by the way.
I’m sure Tom will thank you.
So, the past several weeks have been much warmer, and drier, than is the norm, then, yesterday:
Six inches a little after sunrise, and it didn’t stop all day. No further comments about the wildly unpredictable nature of climate patterns these days needed, I suppose? Well, how about this report out Thursday that large segments of the Antarctic ice sheet are cataclysmically melting?
Still not convinced? Well, try the color green on for size, down there. Yes, the word is Terracide.
I’ve been describing the current GOP as being similar to an organized crime family for quite some time now in this blog, so read this article about Paul Ryan with an appreciation for irony. Hate to say I told you so.
Avocado junkies unite! Well, at least read this one. You might recall how I recently posted stats that Mexico’s cartel wars are the second bloodiest conflict on earth, surpassing Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, here are some of the practical consequences of this conflict – that sound more like something out of The Road Warrior than a modern nation state. Two things strike me about this article: 1) it’s Mexico, our next-door-neighbor, and 2) how far would things have to digress before this state of affairs became a reality in the US or the EU? I suggest you read this one and decide for yourself, but to me Mexico looks more and more like a failed state, a state in service of a very few elites. Having that on our southern border begins to sound more and more like a really big problem going forward. Walls are not going to fix that. Diplomacy and aid might, IF focused on the problem. The cartels represent a Clear and Present Danger to the United States (sorry, Tom, to keep borrowing your stuff).
Funding for college work-study programs would be cut in half, public-service loan forgiveness would end and hundreds of millions of dollars that public schools could use for mental health, advanced coursework and other services would vanish under a Trump administration plan to cut $10.6 billion from federal education initiatives, according to budget documents obtained by The Washington Post.
So much for the future of public schools in America.
Trump describes himself as smart as hell. Okay, so what if he’s not? Are there consequences? How bad might those be? Well, read on.
You know, language matters. The language a media outlet uses shapes the perceptions of it’s audience, and the outcome can be predictable. Read this piece from Fox News, read phrases like Left-wing shock-troops, then tell me what you think their objective is? Or, try this op-ed from good old Newter Gingrich.
Civil war, perhaps? It sure isn’t tolerance or understanding.
Is Trump’s war on the media just for show? This opinion piece on Slate begs to differ. You might too after reading.
More info linking US billionaires to Brexit, and funding populist organizations in the EU.
Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Sunday that “our institutions are under assault internally” by President Donald Trump, who is “eroding” the American system of “checks and balances” on political power.
“The developments of the past week are very bothersome, very disturbing to me,” Clapper told CNN’s Jake Tapper. “I think in many ways, our institutions are under assault externally and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system. And I think as well, our institutions are under assault internally.”
Eighty years after the first Americans went to war against Nazi-backed fascists, a small group of historians trying to preserve the volunteers’ memory has found their services unexpectedly in demand. Why are people puzzled over the meaning of that word, fascism?” asked Peter Carroll, a historian of the Spanish civil war at Stanford University. “Do I think Donald Trump is Adolf Hitler? No. But there are patterns of contempt for opposition by political leaders that are as unacceptable and intolerable as National Socialism.”
What you’re seeing in the political miasma of “RussiaGate” is an exercise in nostalgia. Apart from the symbolic feat of getting a “black” president freely elected in 2008 (remember, Mr. Obama is also half-white), the Democratic Party hasn’t enjoyed a political triumph in half a century to match the Watergate extravaganza of 1972-74, which ended in the departure of Mr. Nixon, the designated Prince of Darkness of those dear dead days. Watergate had had a more satisfying finale than The Brides of Dracula. So, in its current sad state, devoid of useful political ideas, mired in the mostly manufactured conflicts of race and gender, psychologically crippled by the election loss of a miserable candidate to the Golden Golem of Greatness, the Democratic Party is returning full steam to a gambit that worked so well years ago: beating the devil by congressional inquiry.
If you think Pence has a chance of becoming the next Golden Boy, read this first. Shades of Agnew, anyone? Non-stop chaos? Smoke and Mirrors? Pence may be worse than the Donald, know what I mean?
Anyway, enough of this nonsense.
Happy trails, and good-bye.