Trump – the most controversial of Presidents
There have been highly controversial Presidents in the past. In Vietnam War days, for example, there was a growing controversy, finally reaching the point where an overwhelming majority was outraged at Nixon and the war, and was very happy to see him resign in disgrace over Watergate. Or there might be widespread outrage at the character of a President, as when conservatives sought to impeach Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky affair. There might even be controversy over the legitimacy of an election, as when Bush Junior got in only because the Supreme Court ignored the obvious need for a recount in Florida. With Trump, however, we’re talking about a whole new ballgame, whole new dimensions of controversy.
For one thing, in the past, the mainstream media has been mainly on the side of the President in the face of controversy. Watergate was a rare exception, and it was very focused on a specific set of transgressions – election tampering and the attempt to cover it up. When Nixon did resign, the media treated him with respect.
With Trump, we’re seeing a 24-7 full-scale assault on the President by the media, denouncing his character, his stability and maturity, his suitability for the job, his Cabinet choices, the legitimacy of his election, his possibly treasonous interactions with Russia, and the list goes on. This assault comes not just on news shows, but in everything from top-rated late-night comedy to widely-watched awards-ceremony speeches. It also comes through ‘’progressive” channels that have traditionally been counter-mainstream. This media assault on a sitting President is absolutely unprecedented in its scope and intensity.
And standing behind this media assault, we have an assault by what is being called the “Deep State”, the entrenched establishment – which seems to include just about everybody in Washington except Trump and his close network. Through pronouncements, attributed and not, the “Intelligence Community” assures us that Russia hacked and influenced the election, that Trump’s staffers have had inappropriate contacts with Russia, and that Russia poses a major threat to America. These pronouncements then become “hard facts” in the media, and add depth and credibility to the media assault on Trump. Again, this assault by insiders is unprecedented in its scope and intensity. Deep Throat was kid-stuff compared to what we’re seeing now.
These multi-front assaults, however, do not get to the heart of the controversy. I suggest that the heart of the Controversy – in the minds of those many who oppose or even detest him – is Trump himself. As regards public opposition, he is his own worst enemy. If someone on the media wants to ridicule Trump, it is difficult to do better than showing some clips (or doing some imitations) of himself sounding like a fool, a racist, or a narcissist. He shoots from the hip, and comes across as too opinionated. And then we’ve got the tweets, where the media is the message – use of tweets signifies that he is frivolous with his communications.
To top it all off, he flouts being un-politically correct. In today’s dominant culture of tolerance, human rights, sympathy for the underdog, respect for diversity, etc., his un-PC stance makes him a veritable satan, or might we say heretic – a clear and present danger to the moral universe that progressives believe they are living in. Consider for example this banner, that I received in a mailing from Common Dreams, a popular channel for the “Progressive Community”…
The Russia Card and fake news
My favorite metaphor is the Matrix, the world one imagines one lives in, based on the fabricated narratives that are fed to populations by mainstream media channels. In the Matrix world, the US has been fighting terrorism all over the Muslim world. In the real world, the US has been using ISIS and other terrorist groups to help destabilize ‘undesirable’ regimes. Sadly, the ‘undesirables’ have been the most progressive, the most secular, the most respectful of human rights, of the Muslim states.
In the Matrix world, the Ukraine experienced a popular uprising, bringing in a government that reflected the popular will to turn toward the EU. In reality a fascist coup was carried out, with billions of funding supplied by the US to prepare for it, employing the help of violent extremists, and with instructions to the police to not use force against the ‘protesters’. Snipers were deployed, shooting both police and protesters, and this was then blamed on the government.
The elected leader was forced to flee for his life, and a government came in that proudly links itself to the brigades who joined with the Nazis in World War 2, rounding up ‘undesirables’ and participating in massacres.
In the Matrix world Russia used the chaos in Kiev as a pretext for invading and annexing territory (Crimea), thus signaling an ‘expansionist’ Russia, a Russia looking for weak spots, where it could grab more territory. In the real world, the people of Crimea identify strongly with Russia, many are Russian, they wanted nothing to do with the Kiev junta, and they voted overwhelmingly, in a free and fair referendum, to join with Russia.
They are much better off as a result in Crimea, compared to Donbas, where Kiev is also unwanted, and where the population is subjected to frequent artillery strikes from Kiev-controlled territory. If Russia had any desire to grab territory, the self-proclaimed independent republics in the east of Ukraine would be ripe and eager for the picking. The joining of Crimea with Russia was not an aggressive act, but a necessary defensive act – necessary to protect an essentially Russian population from anti-Russian fascists, and necessary to protect Russia’s critical national interests – that is, its strategically located Sevastopol naval base.
Fake news is what is broadcast in the mainstream media, generating a fake narrative of what’s going on in the world – fabricating the world of the Matrix. For many generations the mainstream media had a monopoly on public information, and grew accustomed to molding public opinion without interference.
That began to change when the Internet came along, and it changed dramatically when Russia launched the RT YouTube channel. RT was the first YouTube channel to receive a billion hits, and just the other day I ran across this: “The RT network has been nominated in 18 categories of the New York Festivals awards for the world’s best TV and film work. It is now competing for the main prizes in more categories than some of the other major international channels, such as BBC and CNN.” Read more
I follow many different sources of news and analysis, but for keeping up on what’s really happening with important developments around the world, RT wins hands down. They post a dozen or so videos a day, some field clips, and some hosted shows. The channel is dedicated to getting down to the truth of the matter, whatever the story might be. The RT hosts have genuine viewpoints, which they cogently express, and equal time is always given to a variety of other viewpoints. Journalism at its best. My own favorite show is Crosstalk, with Peter Lavelle.
For those who want to keep up on what’s really going on, RT has become the go-to place. It’s the most-watched news channel on YouTube, and it’s causing problems for the establishment and its subservient media – they fear they’re losing control of the public narrative, which to an increasing extent they are. They have launched a broad counter-offensive, and that’s what the ‘fake news’ scam is all about.
The problem they face is that the Matrix world cannot stand the light of day. For example, when Wikileaks came out with the damning Clinton revelations, and RT reported the story, there is no way the media could deal with those revelations. There’s no rebuttal, no favorable spin that could be put on them. But because of RT, and other alternative channels, the story was getting around. A way needed to be found to prevent such stories from entering into mainstream discourse.
The first thing they did was to redirect attention from the revelations themselves to concerns about their source. Next they said the source was Russian hackers, when in fact the leaks came from a Washington insider, delivered to Wikileaks on a memory stick. Next they went to the motives of the alleged source, and got really imaginative: declaring that Russia is using cyber warfare to interfere in our political process. Finally they went on to claim the revelations themselves were lies, ‘fake news’, and that RT/Russia was in the business of spreading fake news, as part of its imagined cyberwar offensive against the West and its institutions.
In the Internet world we talk about memes. Memes are ideas, or phrases, that catch on, spread around the net, and become part of the language and culture. But in fact, the mainstream media is much better positioned to create a meme, and spread it rapidly throughout the population. ‘Fake news’ is a good example of this process. One day the phrase didn’t exist, and the next day it was on everyone’s lips, throughout the world of the media – all helping to launch the latest creative addition to Matrix mythology.
In fact, ‘fake news’ is a more general version of the earlier Matrix meme, ‘conspiracy theory’. ‘Fake news’ includes not only analysis and theories, but it also includes general reporting, like of facts on the ground. If it’s from a designated fake news source (like RT), then we are to assume those aren’t facts at all, but misleading alt-facts.
These kinds of memes can be very powerful instruments of mind control, depending on the connotations that are associated with them. In the case of ‘conspiracy theory’, the media has taught us to associate ‘crazy’, ‘paranoid’, and ‘for the credulous’. More than once, with progressive friends, I’ve ventured a bit too far outside the Matrix in what I was saying, and my friend responded, with a hearty laugh, “That sounds like a conspiracy theory!”, clearly indicating that the subject was now closed. To go further would be like talking seriously about Elvis sightings we’ve experienced. Thus do progressives blind themselves to important dimensions of the real world.
In the case of ‘fake news’, the associations the media is feeding us include not only ‘false’, but also a connotation of threat, that the message comes from evil intent, the intent to confuse, mislead, and disrupt. There is also an association with another new meme, ‘idiot agent’ (or some similar phrase, I may have it wrong). An idiot agent is someone who falls for fake news, and thereby becomes an unwitting spreader of enemy propaganda.
‘Fake news’ is a powerful meme, with many applications. To begin with, anything anyone says that disagrees with the mainstream line can be readily dismissed, simply by calling it fake news. And any source that gets cited, if it offers a contrary view, can be labeled a fake-news source, and dismissed wholesale. Not only that, but anyone who agrees with contrary viewpoints can be labeled an ‘idiot agent’, and be not only dismissed from the debate, but tarnished in character as well.
In this way the Matrix world of the media can keep the light of truth from threatening its fabricated narrative. Every commentator, pundit, comedian, and politician will from now on be sure to distance themselves from anything tainted by the fake-news brush, and they will never miss a chance to use that brush themselves to easily tarnish any ideas that conflict with the mainstream line.
The media may have found a way to keep itself clean (insulated from the real world), but there is still the Internet to worry about, as more and more people are getting their information online. Already Google, Facebook, and others are experimenting with ways to identify ‘fake news’ sources, and to then omit them from searches and news feeds, and in general minimize access to them. Cyber-censorship, evidently, is coming to town.
It’s not just a US thing. The ‘fake news’ meme, along with its associations, is operating already in the UK and Europe as well. I’ve seen proposals that it should be a serious crime, if someone distributes fake news. And in France and Germany the media are frantic, lest Russia interfere in their upcoming elections, and alarms are being raised about the danger posed by ‘fake news’.
Russia and RT are both approaching the world, in diplomacy and with their media productions, with openness, frankness, and honesty – which of course brings them both into fake news territory. Meanwhile, the West and its media come on with a fake narrative. There’s a reason for this difference in approach, and it’s not that Russians are inherently more honest. They can be as tricky as anyone else, if there’s a need to be.
The reason has to do with what’s actually going on in the world, and the US role in those goings on. The US is in fact a rogue state, a wholesale violator of international law, an illegal invader of nations, and an active supporter and funder of ISIS and other terrorist groups, for the purpose of destabilization. Welcome to the real world.
Given this reality, of rampant US criminality on the world stage, the obvious propaganda strategy for the US and its subservient Western allies is to fabricate an elaborate Matrix world, in which none of those bad things are happening. An imaginary world in which the US fights terrorism, and supports international law, and where nearly everything about the real world is turned upside down.
And given this reality, of rampant US criminality on the world stage, the obvious propaganda strategy for Russia and RT (which by the way operates independently of government control), is to play their cards straight, to seek the truth and let the facts speak for themselves, both in the diplomatic arena, and in their media offerings. It’s a situation, with a blatantly guilty adversary, where even Machiavelli would agree that honesty is the smartest strategy to go with.
And there is an adversarial relationship between Russia and the US, particularly where the Deep State establishment is concerned. At one level the conflict is about strategic security, missile capabilities, anti-missile shields, and the like. At another level the conflict is about influence over territory, as in Syria or Ukraine. But perhaps the most important level of conflict is in the realm of economics.
Russia and Europe are natural trading partners. Russia has natural resources, such as oil and gas, that Europe needs, and Europe produces lots of things Russians want to buy. The problem is that such trade leaves the US out of the loop, and it could lead to Eurasia rising as a superpower region.
So the US strategy is to make the Russians out to be scary and evil, deserving of sanctions, and not people to engage in commerce with. They provoked the Bear in Ukraine and in Syria, and the inevitable Russian response provided incidents that could then be matrix-spun into ‘scary and evil Russia’. It’s like a new Cold War, but with a Scary Curtain, instead of an Iron Curtain. And in both cases, then and now, it’s been mainly about economics, and about controlling trading relationships.
When people see tanks running through their towns, and they see military exercises near the Russian border, that tends to convince them that there must be a real threat from Russia, requiring such expensive and elaborate exercises. In fact, those were not meaningful military exercises at all in an age of missiles and tactical nukes – rather they were exercises in mind control, a way to add credibility to the Scary Russia story, at a visible, tangible level.
The Russia Card is a neat little propaganda package, where all the pieces work well together. First we had the Scary Russia Campaign, which has been going on for some time. Then, with that established, it was easy to claim that RT, the presumed voice of Scary Russia, would be putting out nefarious stuff, and telling lies. That claim was then elaborated into the ‘fake news’ project, which provides a way to maintain the Matrix illusion, and keep out the light of day.
It’s easy to see why Trump couldn’t be allowed to bring the US-Russia relationship onto a friendly footing. The Russia Card is working too well for that to be permitted.
Trump vs. Globalism – a project set up to fail
There was a core agenda presented consistently in Trump’s campaign speeches, in his debates, and in his statements following the election. That core agenda, which he calls “Making America Great Again”, has a major focus on economics – it is about backing off from globalization, and reestablishing the economic viability of the nation state.
This is the agenda that will be most identified with Trump and his administration, at least on the domestic side of things. If Trump fails in his attempt to rebuild the economy, that will be interpreted as meaning that the core idea was flawed. The proclaimed lesson in the Matrix world will be that it makes no sense in this globalized world to try to reassert the prerogatives of the nation state: globalism is the only way forward.
When globalization first got into high gear, with the WTO and all, there was a lot of progressive awareness of what globalization is about: the transfer of power from governments to corporations, the enrichment of multi-national corporations, the dismantlement of economies, and the loss of essential national sovereignty. There was a very energetic Anti-Globalization Movement, with massive protest events, featuring well-informed teach-ins and the like.
Things have changed. Progressive energy now is more likely to be riled up around climate change, or #NotNormal-Trump, or protecting one minority or another. And along with our iPhones, Amazon, and Walmart, we’ve pretty much bought into the superficial perks of globalization. I almost (but not quite) feel I need to make a case here against globalization, and explain why Trump’s core economic agenda – if pursued wisely – is exactly the direction we should be heading in, if there is to be any hope of restoring some kind of sanity to our economic and political worlds. In the interest of time, I’ll trust in the wisdom of the reader as to these points.
The wise pursuit of a national revival agenda, however, is not what Trump has in mind for his rebuilding program. As I suggested in an earlier article, his plan is to finance the program by giving away the infrastructure to the corporations that agree to fund the rebuilding.
This might create a lot of jobs, for a while, and it might give us some shiny new infrastructures, but it does not improve America’s economic viability. On the contrary, it removes valuable infrastructure assets from the national balance sheet, and it creates a huge ongoing cash drain (usage fees and tolls) from the national economy. It subtracts from economic viability rather than adding to it. Here’s a recent article from Global Research: Trump’s One Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Boondoggle
In the early stages, when jobs start coming in, and construction projects become visible on the landscape, it will seem like Trump’s rebuilding project is moving forward. But sooner or later, as general economic decline continues, his program will be recognized as being a colossal failure: instead of a stronger America, he’s given us a weaker one.
When the colossal failure eventually one day comes to dominates the headlines, that is when the Matrix media will be activated to control the narrative, to draw the right conclusions and lessons from the failure: the failure proves that it is folly to try to turn back the clock in this globalized world, to try to reassert the prerogatives of the nation state; more integration of economies, and stronger international institutions – that is the only way forward.
The whole Trump episode has been a giant set up. Trump’s rebuilding mission was designed from the beginning to fail, so that the above ‘lessons’ could be learned, and ultimately so that the progress of globalism could be accelerated. It’s a sad episode. The very thing we need, a revival of national viability, has been given a phony ‘trial’, and the outcome is that the opposite path, the one we wanted to avoid, the globalist path, is likely to be followed.
Populism, Collapse, and the Globalist Moment
In the support Trump receives from so many people, deplorable or not, and in the support we see for Brexit, and La Pen, and all the other up-and-coming counter-establishment political figures in Europe, we are seeing a widespread and well-justified populist rebellion against a system and an ideology that has clearly failed, by any civilized social measure.
These rebels, however we might characterize them, have shown the very good sense to know something else needs to be tried, if things aren’t to get a lot worse, and they have demonstrated the courage and audacity to bet on horses that show some promise of knowing which direction heads toward the finishing post. All of the chosen horses, it turns out, have similar core agendas, all around national revival.
The various revivalist leaders are similar to Trump in significant ways. Besides sharing the revivalist mission, they are also controversial figures, as Trump is, and they have aroused contempt among progressives, as he has, with #NotNormal-Trump and all. And as with Trump, all of these revivalists, the ones that get elected, are being set up to fail, in the same way Trump was set up, and for the same reasons. The lessons, about the inevitability of globalism and all, need to be brought home to Europe as well as America.
This whole transcontinental set up is a great accomplishment for the globalists. Instead of just one failure to exploit, there will presumably be several of them, clearly demonstrating the validity of the pro-globalist ‘conclusions’ and ‘lessons’ the Matrix will be promulgating.
When the revivalist projects come crashing down, that will create a Globalist Moment, a time when there is an opening to move the globalist agenda forward. Such Moments don’t come along very often, and we can be sure the globalists will want to get as much out of this Moment as they can.
It just so happens that there is an obvious way for the globalists to achieve a whole lot more from this Moment than any of the things we’ve talked about so far. There is a card they can play, a powerful card that could strategically advance the globalist project, and there couldn’t be a better time to play this card than when Trump and the other revivalists are deeply embroiled in their revivalist programs.
The card, if you haven’t guessed by now, is financial collapse, something much bigger than 2008, a catastrophic crash, where currencies lose their value, the economy freezes, commerce grinds to a halt, and the trucks stop rolling.
Consider for a moment the global economy, and the global financial system. Consider the number of ways in which it is a house of cards. Like the hundreds-of-trillion-dollars derivative bubble that could burst at any time, and the number of leading nations that are in fact insolvent, and all the debt floating around that can never realistically be repaid, and the irreversible stagnation in the real economy, and the list goes on. All it would take would be some strategic tightening of the credit regime, together perhaps with some Soros-style market manipulation, to bring the whole thing crashing down.
Consider also the globalist agenda, which calls for a global currency. If the global economy were to crash hard, a catastrophic crash, that would provide a perfect opportunity to bring in a global currency, perhaps accompanied by jubilee debt forgiveness, as a solution to what would be a very deep crisis. A solution would be urgently needed, it would be the only solution on offer, and the globalist masters of finance are well-equipped to launch and manage a global currency.
It would seem that the collapse card will need to be played at some point, as it’s the most efficient way to bring in a global currency. What better time to play the card than at this Globalist Moment, when the collapse can be blamed on the revivalist movement? A collapse is much more dramatic than a simple program failure, and it would open up a much bigger space for the advancement of the globalist agenda.
A total collapse is a very traumatic thing for populations. It creates the kind of extreme crisis that Naomi Klein talks about, when she explains the strategy behind the Shock Doctrine. At such a time, to put it simply, our globalist masters can get by with things that they couldn’t get by with in normal times.
At such times, not only is everyone’s attention focused on things like food distribution, public health, and maintaining order, but people are also urgently calling for answers, for solutions, for hope. Such times are ripe for the introduction of major changes, only some of which are relevant to the crisis at hand. At such times people are eager to grasp at a solution, and a lot else can be smuggled in at the same time, while the gate is wide open.
I first started exploring this crash scenario after reading an article by a financial expert, someone with a good track record of anticipating events. He was looking at the instabilities in the system, the inflation of markets, the effect of interest-rate changes, the various bubbles that are floating around, etc. Based on those kinds of considerations, he was predicting a catastrophic crash sometime in or around June of this year – without the need for any interference or manipulation.
I don’t take such predictions very seriously, as there are so many conflicting ones on offer, all by seeming experts. But the article started me thinking about how a Summer crash would impact Trump, Brexit, and the various other ongoing dramas that I’ve been investigating. When I noticed the potential synergy that exists between a crash, the desire for a global currency, and the Globalist Moment, the penny dropped: there’s no way the globalists could pass up this golden opportunity to jumpstart the endgame of the globalist agenda. Once the global currency is in, we’ve entered the slippery slope, and the globalists will be driving events, in both the real world and the Matrix world.
So there you have it, I’m predicting that we will fairly soon see a hard crash of the global economy, to be blamed on Trump and similars, resulting in a decisive shift toward globalism, including in particular the introduction of a global currency. That’s what I think the Trump Era is really about.