Following on from considering the symbolic (and the actual) disparity of a millionaire/billionaire cabal with shared business interests governing – supposedly – for the well-being of ordinary and even economically disadvantaged people, we then look naturally to see what kind of people these are, what they believe in and what sort of world-view they bring with them into office.
A lot of people have worried for a long time what a Trump victory would end up actually meaning, aside from a perceived victory for some of the most dubious groups or interests in America – and, via osmosis, potentially Europe and the West.
Lots of concerns came to mind: a total right-wing Republican takeover, a government under the sway of evangelicals, an administration populated by highly anti-progressive figures, which might target specific minority groups, go after social activists and environmentalists, and even the danger of a Christian Zionist Crusade in terms of Middle East policy. All of those are possible. Worse is possible too.
As a distinct non-fan of Hillary Clinton, I genuinely was trying for a (very) little while to see the good side of a prospective Trump administration, but part-way through last year I realised I had been allowing my distaste for Hillary to cloud my view of Trump and his network. The main problem, in my view, isn’t Donald Trump himself – it is some, even most, of the people gathered around him and forming the imminent administration. I shall generally refer to them as the ‘basket of deplorables’ (to borrow a phrase).
Unfortunately, few of the moves and signals from the Trump camp have done much to encourage positive feelings about the incoming basket of deplorables – which, remember, are set to be governing the most powerful nation on earth for at least the next four years. And this is completely unconnected to any alleged ‘Russian hacking’, which, again, is a red herring.
Political analyst Noam Chomsky had this to say about the election result at the time. “On November 8, the most powerful country in world history, which will set its stamp on what comes next, had an election. The outcome placed total control of the government — executive, Congress, the Supreme Court — in the hands of the Republican Party, which has become the most dangerous organization in world history.”
Chomsky continues, concerning the rise of Donald Trump as a figurehead; “For many years, I have been writing and speaking about the danger of the rise of an honest and charismatic ideologue in the United States, someone who could exploit the fear and anger that has long been boiling in much of the society, and who could direct it away from the actual agents of malaise to vulnerable targets.”
In the previous post, the focus was on what looks like it may be a hardline Corporate Mafia takeover of the White House and US government. In this post, let’s put the money issue aside and just ask how it is that what looks like a wacky cabal of Gotham City villains is poised to take over the world’s greatest superpower.
Just a simple background check of character references reveals a coterie of people you wouldn’t trust to look after your cat, let-alone run the most powerful nation on earth.
Some of the views, ideas and ideologies professed by many or most of those around Trump – or those who Trump seems to be bringing into the fold – are genuinely scary; ranging from sinister to just downright ridiculous, with a lot in-between. And once the new administration is up and running, the potential impact – socially, politically, economically, environmentally, even religiously – could be substantial.
Much has been made, of course, about Trump’s campaign manager and senior advisor Steve Bannon – vilified as a white supremacist and extreme propagandist. In a recent interview, Steve Bannon made an odd remark. He said “Darkness is good… That’s power”.
In the same sentence, he seemed to revel in being likened to ‘Satan’ and ‘Darth Vader’. Now I entirely assume that what he was doing was being sarcastic; basically just taking in all of the suspicion or outrage against him with a dry wit, the same way I might do if I were in his position.
The problem is context, however. And when you’re being widely labelled a ‘white nationalist’ and accused by some of having solidarity with the KKK, saying things like “darkness is good – that’s power” isn’t a tactful or clever move. Particularly when the President-Elect whose campaign you masterminded – and who is one of the very few presidential election winners to not have won the popular vote – had already provoked days of mass protest from those who don’t want him as president.
Now I already noted, the day after the election, how Donald Trump was flashing the so-called ‘Illuminati’ or masonic hand signs in the White House. Which doesn’t in itself bother me that much, as most presidents have probably been masons – and indeed the Founding Fathers themselves were openly Freemasons. And there’s nothing inherently bad about being a mason. But then when Bannon makes enigmatic comments like the one he made in the interview, you have to wonder whether he’s just being colorful or sarcastic, or whether he is actually alluding to something more sinister and basically just laughing in everyone’s faces: the same way Trump was back when he made the “I love uneducated people” remark at his rally.
If Hillary (and I’m no fan of Hillary Clinton) had made the same “Darkness is good” remark – in jest or otherwise – the Alt-Right conspiracy content would go into overdrive.
Unfortunately much of the ‘alt’ or ‘Truther’ ‘movement’ out there are stuck in highly inflexible, dogmatic positions that have little to do with truth and more to do with confirmation bias and echo chambers.
Steve Bannon – who is both a Goldman-Sachs millionaire and an ‘Alt-Right’/Breitbart figure – denies being a white nationalist and insists he is only an ‘America First’ economic nationalist: which is fine and may be the truth. But it doesn’t take much perusal of his former home, Breitbart, to ascertain that racially-defined sectarianism, zealous anti-feminism and homophobia, and permanent anti-Muslim propaganda, are never far away from the Breitbart agenda; or that both the KKK and the American Nazi Party were very outspokenly happy when Trump hired Bannon as his campaign manager and now senior advisor. Of course, one can be an ‘economic nationalist’ and also less overtly be a white nationalist too. And Breitbart means Bannon has the whiff of Goebbels about him.
My own view of the ‘Alt Right’ has always been one of deep suspicion: to be frank, Breitbart, Info Wars and co are, in my opinion, simply right-wing or extreme right-wing operations that have co-opted or hijacked the rise of ‘alternative media’ in order to repackage themselves and their ideas and fool gullible people into thinking that they are true ‘alternatives’ to the status quo.
How long those outlets will continue the ‘This is Our Great Anti- Establishment Victory’ line remains to be seen: Breitbart, for one, can never step back from that, as it is, via Bannon, too intimately entwined with the Trump campaign and administration. Info Wars could, in theory, change direction: but I watched Alex Jones interview Donald Trump a year or so ago and, when Trump stated that ‘Muslims’ had done 9/11, Jones – the man who spent several years talking about the 9/11 Inside Job – simply agreed with Trump and appeared to have forgotten his own early work entirely.
Tony Cartalucci at Land Destroyer appears to share my view of the nature of the Alt-Right, recently writing, ‘Breitbart News exists today as a living success story of Cass Sunstein’s cognitive infiltration doctrine. It infiltrated the increasingly independent and influential alternative media, and reasserted establishment talking points under right cover. ‘
Breitbart, and others in its ideological network, are not ‘alt’ anything – they’re just extreme right-wing platforms.
And now that platform has won the White House. Bannon, and others in the camp, are entirely on a Crusade against Muslims, for starters: the general position is also to vilify the Black Lives Matter movement, which – combined with Trump-team talk of increased militarisation of police – could potentially manifest in all kinds of dangerous ways.
The anti Muslim element – as it is in the European Far-Right too – is very serious.
What’s curious about Flynn’s anti-Muslim crusade is that, as a former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, he would presumably have some level of awareness of how illusory the Islamic Terror threat in the United States is and how much it – from 9/11 through to Orlando – has relied on false-flag operations and FBI-contrived plots: which means he doesn’t actually perceive any threat from American Muslims, but just hates them for other reasons. And, presumably, will happily carry on the work of pretending false-flag ops don’t happen. I already made that point in reference to the Berlin Truck Attack before Christmas – which I already suspect may have been a false-flag op co-authored between Mossad and the Trump team (read that post for the reason).
When you look how common this major anti-Muslim rhetoric is in Trump’s movement, you do have to start worrying about those suggestions of compulsory ID badges, Muslim databases and detention and whether it was really just campaign sensationalism or not.
With the kinds of additional powers that both the Bush and Obama presidencies created, the kind of damage a Bannon/Flynn-influenced administration could do is substantial.
This administration in a pre-9/11 America would’ve been a less dangerous entity, existing in a pre-Homeland Security and pre-Patriot Act world: but, as things now are, there is a palpable danger. It’s the same problem we should be perceiving in France, by the way, where, if the Front National was to win the election next year, they would inherit all of the controversial emergency powers that the current French government has put into place (unless the current government reduces the ‘State of Emergency’ before then).
Even beyond that ominous issue, however, most of Trump’s Legion of Doom seems to spout rhetoric or ideas that – at another time – would’ve been considered comedic, but in these new circumstances should be considered anything *but* funny.
Ben Carson likens fair housing policies to ‘Communism’ and compared same-sex marriage to paedophilia.
Trump’s education secretary – sister of the man who founded the infamous Blackwater mercenary firm – served on the board of an institution that sought to overturn child labor laws. She also advocates for removing the separation between church and state.
More character references?
Treasury Secretary, the Goldman-Sachs man Steven Mnuchin, profited massively from the 2008 financial crisis and – for some further character reference – his ‘foreclosures machine’ was widely reported to have once evicted a 90 year-old lady from her home over 27 cents.
John Bolton, when serving as Under-Secretary of State for arms control and international security, was considered a temperamental risk by George W. Bush and removed to a different position. Supporter and ally Newt Gingrich famously divorced one of his wives while she was in hospital being treated for cancer.
David Clarke, reported to be Trump’s likely pick for a leading role at the Department of Homeland Security (overseeing immigration enforcement, the Secret Service, the TSA, the Coast Guard and FEMA) has called for Americans who sympathise with terrorists or with causes that terrorists might have (even just on social media or verbally) to be rounded up and sent to Guantanamo Bay, and allegedly has said he wants to sent up to 1 million people to Gitmo.
Another likely senior figure in Homeland Security is Kris Kobach, who appears to be on a crusade against immigrants and any amnesty policies and also sings from the same anti-Muslim hymn sheet as Michael Flynn.
Millionaire Senator Jeff Sessions once joked that he thought the Ku Klux Klan were “OK until I found out they smoked pot”.
CIA director, Mike Pompeo, labeled those at the CIA who participated in torture as “heroes”; he also staunchly opposed closing down the illegal Guantánamo Bay prison and is a supporter of NSA bulk data collection who called for Edward Snowden to be executed. As did another Trump pick, James Woolsey.
Trump’s man for Labor, Andrew F Puzder, is a staunch opponent of minimum wage laws.
It is an extraordinary irony that, compared to some of these characters, Trump’s Vice-President – Mike Pence – almost looks like the sane, reasonable presence. Pence is an ultra right-wing evangelical (and probable Christian Zionist; the other Zionist connections include Breitbart’s Steve Bannon and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, among others). Jared Kushner, by the way, is still being heavily tipped for a major role in the administration – which serves to make the Trump administration seem even more like an in-house mafia.
Like many others in the Trump campaign or being touted for the Trump administration, Pence is widely regarded as aggressively anti-LGBT and anti gay marriage (he also was advocated for ‘curing’ gay people of their sexual orientation via a form of shock therapy), as well as an advocate against women’s reproductive rights.
He sponsored a 2007 bill to defund Planned Parenthood. Earlier this year he told the Values Voter Summit that a Trump administration would begin its fight against abortion rights on “the first day we take office.”
He, not long ago, denied that smoking can kill (probably because he was taking donations from tobacco companies) and he denied climate change. He is also highly critical of science and wants kids to be taught Creatonism. If this was just some right-wing radio host, this would be standard: but this is a Vice-President of the United States we’re now talking about. The same anti-science attitude seems to be shared with several other of Trump’s administration picks.
Among other curious things, he also proposed that the state vet and filter news for journalists.
This notion of potentially taking control of news and media has also been hinted at by Trump himself, though more in regard to online media – despite the undeniable role online media has played in Trump’s popularity.
Trump said about a year ago; “We’re losing a lot of people because of the Internet. We have to go see Bill Gates and a lot of different people that really understand what’s happening. We have to talk to them about, maybe in certain areas, closing that Internet up in some way. Somebody will say, ‘Oh freedom of speech, freedom of speech.’ These are foolish people. We have a lot of foolish people.”
That’s Donald Trump – the so-called ‘anti establishment’ candidate – speaking. Read ’em and weep.
But he of course also constantly complains about the mainstream media too – so quite what people’s information source should be in his view is unclear. Maybe it should just be Breitbart. Or Trump’s own Twitter account. Either way, these sentiments from both Trump and Pence should alarm not just traditional media outlets, but also online platforms, alternative media and bloggers.
Those aforementioned statements are particularly worrying in light of all the recent Trump-camp talk about ‘fake media’.
All of this is just scratching the surface of the problem. There’s more.
And the now failing mainstream media, despite its clear anti-Trump agenda and bias, isn’t actually making this stuff up: what has actually happened is that the Breitbart/Trump campaign has done such a job of undermining and discrediting mainstream journalism – and mainstream journalism has so frequently been shown to be pure propaganda and therefore has undermined itself – that its protestations against the potential New Order will fall on deaf ears.
It’s the MSM’s own fault – they almost deserve to be completely discredited: unfortunately, having one school of deceptive propaganda be replaced with another school of equally deceptive, but more dangerous, propaganda isn’t necessarily a good day for Truth or for journalism.
Meanwhile, the campaign mantra of ‘drain the swamp’ becomes laughable when you look at who it is that is supposedly going to be doing the draining. Michael Flynn? David Clarke? Steve Bannon?
Rudy Giuliani is always troubling too. Guliani, a man who comes from a mafia background – and a man who, like Mike Pence, looks like the Bad Guy in a thriller movie – is believed to have been part of the 9/11 inside job operation.
For that matter, concerning the number of Neo-Cons that Trump also appears to be gathering – including people linked to the 9/11 inside job and Iraq War – this is covered in the next post; but this also suggests things aren’t going to be rosy on the foreign policy front either, despite the fact that half of the appeal of the Trump campaign was supposedly its desire to focus on domestic politics and its rejection of previous foreign policy misadventures.
How anyone with half a brain could believe that a campaign being run by Goldman-Sachs people – essentially the people who caused the 2008 financial crisis – and now evidently also involving PNAC Neo-Cons could possibly be an ‘anti-establishment’ coup to ‘drain the swamp’ is beyond me.
Is there any good news?
I guess just that the inept criminal, Hillary, was kept from her presidential entitlement. And that the conflict with Russia may cool down – though even that isn’t absolutely certain in the long run.
As for the question of ‘dangerous or misunderstood’? Trump could conceivably be misunderstood in places; I’ll give him that much – and, again, I don’t see Trump himself as the problem. But those around him and those he has been bringing in to the equation can’t all be misunderstood.
Consider too that Trump may find himself beset by lawsuits or even impeachment proceedings at some stage or another – at which point some of these other, dubious figures in the administration will come even more to the fore as Trump himself is potentially rendered a lame duck.
That might actually be more dangerous than the idea of ‘President Trump’; but I tend to wonder, as I have before, if Trump himself is simply an expendable pawn in all of this, whose usefulness was simply to rally up mass support and hysteria in order to win the White House.
In the meantime, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit if the next administration pick is announced as Lex Luthor.