(I’ll have my late-night dedication to Robert Mueller up one of these late nights. For now….)
After a day-and-a-half of monitoring my usual social-media feeds and assembling all the Mainstream Media takes, I was beginning to think I would have to do the heavy lifting on the essential meaning of Team Trump’s resounding victory over Team Mueller myself.
Lucky me, fervid anti-Trumper Matt Taibbi has stumbled around and, blind-squirrel style, at least assembled the outline.
Taibbi is still stuck on stupid in the manner of Trump’s intelligence. He seems to think his own initial reading of Trump as some sort of idiot-savant whose lucky streak is bound to end sometime (and probably soon) has somehow held up in the face of everything else he tells us here. But that only demonstrates how much counter-evidence our preferred narratives can withstand.
By all means, read the whole thing. I don’t agree with all of it but he’s got the gist right and suffice it to say that dozens, if not hundreds, of key members of the Swamp State (which I’m still thinking maybe we should call the Rump-Swab State–ya’ll feel free to weigh in on this), are now lying awake nights praying to the God they do not believe in (but who believes very much in them), that Donald Trump is not a vindictive man or at least Ivanka and Jared, the only people who would likely be entrusted with the execution of his response, will make less-than-able consiglieres should he bother to sweep his feckless opposition from the board.
The real message, as always, is that Trump is where he is because he is opposed by people whose depths of corruption, arrogance, and sense of entitlement are built on fifty-plus years of misgovernance and thirty-five of mal-governance and exceeded only by their rank stupidity.
Hey Eddie. It’s been a while. Think maybe you can help a brother out and remind ’em how it is?
When Fort walked into the trash-strewn CIC in the wake of the disaster, he was hit with the acrid smell of urine. He saw kettlebells on the floor and bottles filled with pee. Some radar controls didn’t work and he soon discovered crew members who didn’t know how to use them anyway.
The U.S. Navy is our Empire’s Maginot Line, the defense system the French built to insure there would never be another attack from the east that brought the Germans as close to Paris as they had come in the Great War.
The Maginot Line was deemed invincible, like the U.S. Navy today.
The state of the French Aristocracy, the equivalent of our D.C. Swamp (at which the Pentagon sits in the geographic and psychological center) can be viewed in the pre-war films of Jean Renoir, especially The Rules of the Game, though one could see Le Marseillaise, set in the French Revolution, as a warning masked by historical costume.
Then as now, the Swamp decides.
When soldiers, sailors and marines are set to the task of doing anything other than guarding their homeland or taking and holding ground from a well-defined enemy, the scenes described aboard The Fitzgerald become, as the French would say, de rigueur.
This will be worth remembering when our ships are being sunk by enemies rather than accidents.
Hey, Clarence Jr., Alohe, James, Dennis, Keni. Tell ’em how it was supposed to be….
I didn’t comment on the lon-n-n-n-n-g lead-up because I had no better idea of what would happen than anyone else.
My only personal interested was voting against Andrew Gillum, the man who, as Mayor of Tallahassee, turned Leon County into the crime capital of Florida four years running. For those who don’t know much about my lovely home state, that’s a rough equivalent of making a docudrama where somebody turns Mayberry into the crime capital of North Carolina (and, apparently in an attempt to practice what he preaches, drawing FBI investigators like mosquitoes in August). And for those who think being Mayor of Tallahassee shouldn’t make you responsible for what happens in all of Leon County, let me tell you what Leon County, where I’ve lived and/or worked for most of my adult life, is.
It’s Tallahassee and a bunch of trees.
I didn’t care who Gillum ran against. I don’t even know who it was. I think it might have been Luciferus Satanicus of Sebastian Inlet. Didn’t matter. Gillum lost, so my night was made. (As with Trump in 2016, I called it hours before CNN did.)
If Gillum hadn’t been running, I probably wouldn’t have voted at all. The ballyhooed Senate race was Worm-Versus-Waxwork. I left it blank.
As for the rest of the beleaguered nation, it turned out the polls and pundits had it about right.
The Senate moved significantly Pro-Trump (call it to the Right it it makes you feel better), and the House moved almost as significantly Anti-Trump (Left and ditto).
Since the House, mired in decades of uselessness, is almost powerless to do anything on its own except conduct investigations which are unlikely to lead anywhere, and pass budgets everyone ignores, I think the Pro-Trump forces emerged slightly stronger in the short run and, due to the ability to move judges onto the Federal bench more quickly and efficiently, quite a bit stronger in the long run. The lifetime appointments can now proceed apace.
Except for their ability to shift courts one direction or the other, and rubber stamp executive orders, legislatures matter little now. If you think the Kavanaugh hearing was a circus full of clowns, wait until it’s Amy Coney Barrett taking over for RBG.
That’s just one more feature of exhausted Empire–government by fiat and decree.
I’m guessing Donald Trump won’t be one to waste that sort of opportunity.
I also don’t think it matters much.
Trump might turn the economy around, shift the emphasis from Wall Street back to Main Street for a while. By some metrics (unemployment, restoring the manufacturing base, hitting “free trade” in the head) he’s already done it.
But he can’t restore the culture or revive the American Narrative.
It’s all headwinds now.
The only people who aren’t getting worked up are me and Eddie.
Must have something to do with being life-long Floridians.
This post isn’t about the Continental Op….but all will be explained.
I receive updates from several email feeds that keep me abreast of the new philosophical wine being poured from old political bottles. The one that pours furthest from the Left at the moment is Medium (I have several others that move round the table and blot the mind from various Conservative and Liberal angles).
Here’s one I got this week, although it was published in early June, when Ninth Phase Trump-is-Hitler mantra was swirling around the issue of the Mexican border (I think the Eighth Phase was “Stormy Daniels” but don’t hold me to it–my attention span isn’t what it used to be).
By all means click through and read the whole thing but there are a few things I want to highlight.
First, I know little about the author, Umair Haque. His brief online bio states he is director of a “media lab” and an “influential management thinker.” That sounds like a standard euphemism for bootlicker to me, but your mileage may vary.
In any case, he does show a certain mastery of commissar thinking.
He begins with a headline: “IS AMERICA UNDERGOING A FASCIST COLLAPSE?” (perhaps not composed by him, but, for once, an accurate evocation of what the essay is about–he uses the phrase “fascist collapse” several times).
Of course, the essay answers the headline’s question for those few who didn’t know already–we are in fact in the midst of a fascist collapse!
Next we get this:
Here is the textbook definition of a concentration camp: “a guarded compound for the detention or imprisonment of aliens, members of ethnic minorities, political opponents, etc.”
Note the ready imposition of totalitarian language–the hammer that always lies at the top of the bootlicker’s tool box.
“The textbook” which provides this particular definition (which you may have thought was the proper province of dictionaries but what do you know?) is Dictionary.com which is not a textbook and is neither more nor less authoritative than any number of other dictionaries-not-textbooks. Thus, in the space of “the textbook definition” Haque allows me to go all Continental Op* and count at least three lies (he’s an exemplar of the crowd who insist we not mince words by using soft substitutes like “falsehood”) in the space of three words.
By “the” he means “a.”
By “textbook” he means “dictionary.” (Textbook would apply, in this case, to a standard work on concentration camps or perhaps fascism, about which more in a minute.)
By “definition” he means something that would be provided by a dictionary–which Haque used even though he insisted it was a textbook, or, rather “the” textbook–and include the full meaning of the word being defined.
Which brings us to “etc.”
What comes after etc. in the source Haque himself cites is this:
especially any of the camps established by the Nazis prior to and during World War II for the confinement and persecution of prisoners.
Now don’t blame him for cutting it short. He didn’t want you to be led astray by equating the “cages” at the US/Mexican border (shown in a dramatic photo above his essay, which, of course, was taken in 2014), with the Nazis right up front.
That comes later, after he’s tied Nazism to Donald Trump’s current practice at the aforementioned border (since rescinded–the essay is from June–by Trump’s own executive order–because that’s just what Hitler, who, in case you are wondering what the “forcible suppression of opposition” about to be mentioned below looks like, had a hundred and thirty of his chief political opponents, including members of his own party he deemed insufficiently loyal, assassinated [not arrested, assassinated] within days of assuming power, would have done), through reliance on rhetoric instead of fact.
That’s the second tool in the bootlicker’s box.
For fun, here’s a “dictionary” definition of fascism (the real issue):
1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.
That’s from Merriam-Webster, which used to be considered “the” dictionary, if one accepted there could be such a thing.
I wonder why Haque didn’t use that one, even in truncated form? Hmmm…
Trump does exalt the nation, although since it’s the American nation, it is tricky to presume he’s exalting it, or race, “above the individual”–“centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition” being anathema to Americans generally and Trump supporters in fierce particular (follow other lines of reasoning in the Medium universe and you’ll find this cantankerousness to be precisely the problem)–or that the faces whom the world’s “management thinkers” tend to front would really excoriate him for proposing such devices, so long as they were the clear beneficiaries. (And it gets to extremes here: At one point, Haque even suggests we are in an era when the leader is beyond criticism–to suggest Trump is being treated as “beyond criticism” is an order of delusion usually associated with heavy use of psychotic drugs.)
As for the rest: The bulk of Trump’s policies–deregulation, rollback of Obamacare, tax cuts, and, lately, moves to implement prison reform and decriminalize weed–have been almost universally away from centralized government. There are arguments to be made, for and against, any of these policies, but even their fullest implementation hardly constitutes oppression, political or otherwise. The one major exception to this anti-authoritarian strain is immigration, where his sins have amounted to enforcing laws long on the books which previous administrations enforced at whim, when they needed a talking point about being tough. (Remember, all the photos of cages, including the one from Haque’s article, that left so many women in my Twitter feed unable to sleep at night, were from the Obama administration and those who reminded them, however gently, were immediately blocked–not me, incidentally, I know better than to challenge such a precious reality with mere facts.)
There’s a lot more in this vein throughout Haque’s piece before it comes to the point he really wants to make, which is that we never did achieve perfection (who knew?) and were always a fascist country anyway.
After all, the Nazis got all their best ideas, like concentration camps, from us.
I guess he thinks those of us who consumed this idea with our Chomsky and Cheerios in 1983, need reminding. Else a new generation needs grooming.
But, as I always used to ask even then: If we’ve always been fascists anyway, how can we “collapse” into fascism now?
And, oh by the way, when did Fascism ever amount to a collapse?
The two most famous fascist countries (Italy and Germany) rose from collapse.
So did almost every other brutal authoritarian regime or party in the history of the world.
First collapse, then tyranny.
And, of course, we are on the path to collapse. I doubt Donald Trump can do anything about that. But it’s civilizational, not political collapse. The political system is working about as well as it ever did–about as well as any ever has.
And it’s about as close to “fascism” as it ever was–within far shouting distance but no closer.
Donald Trump hasn’t altered that equation either.
I might have more to say about that later–why people are really afraid–and it might even have something to do with the “larger truths” Time magazine had to insist they were pursuing when they put out an issue featuring a cover of a little girl who had been horribly and forcibly separated from her mother, knowing full well that no such separation had occurred, and knowing no one would hold them accountable when the lie (we’re not to call them falsehoods remember) was exposed within forty-eight hours…Now that‘s civilizational collapse on the road to tyranny.
And still nothing new.
Meanwhile, Fascism might or might not be the form of tyranny that follows the collapse.
But when the real collapse comes–the one management thinkers at Medium, Time and elsewhere are always thirsting for in the name of “resistance” because it will gift us with the opportunity to reform–there will be some form of tyranny.
Which is why I view “management thinkers,” whatever their professed ideology, with a jaundiced eye.
They are always pointing at some big, shiny ball above your head, so that you’ll be less mindful of the soft, tiny, relentless erosions beneath your feet.
When the chaos comes, after all, there will be an awful lot of managing to do.
These thinkers see themselves charging a pretty penny to rescue us from ourselves then.
And they are a class supremely confident in their ability to find the right boot to lick in order to get paid.
That’s because not one of them has ever been in the room with the Devil.
Else they’d know better.
Remind ’em Eddie….
*From Dashiell Hammett’s Continental Op story, “Golden Horseshoe.”
“I was reading a sign high on the wall behind the bar:
ONLY GENUINE PRE-WAR AMERICAN AND BRITISH WHISKEYS SERVED HERE
I was trying to count how many lies could be found in those nine words, and had reached four, with promise of more…..”
My formula for happiness: Read more Hammett. He may have been a communist, but he was no management thinker.