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Chaos – and disturbances – in the Oval Office


Chaos – and disturbances – in the Oval Office

Courtesy of David BrinContrary Brin

[David Brin is an astrophysicist whose international best-selling novels include The Postman, Earth, and Existence. Dr. Brin serves on advisory boards (e.g. NASA's Innovative and Advanced Concepts program or NIAC) and speaks or consults on a wide range of topics. Dr. Brin's nonfiction book, The Transparent Society, won the Freedom of Speech Award of the American Library Association. Find more at David Brin's Contrary Brin blog and website — biography, books, and short stories.]

The good news? Donald Trump is behaving so incoherently, unable to parse sentences, claiming to have coined phrases like “pump-priming,” announcing to the nation that “no one knew” that Abraham Lincoln had been a Republican, and changing his story about firing the FBI director within hours. You know I could go on and on with examples… like covfefe… any one of which would have put DT’s supporters in a tizzy, if they saw it done by a Democrat.

Putting that hypocrisy aside, there is a silver lining to this behavior. It means our protectors – the grownups – are fully warned. The adult men and women in the intelligence and law communities, civil service and military officer corps are already mentally prepared to do their duty, if something outrageous tips over into threatening – instead of just irritating or infuriating – the republic.

This is why I recently posted a plea for folks not to push hard for impeachment! (See below.) I gave a dozen reasons, any one of which should convince, including the mob of highly disciplined and leak-proof Dominionist fanatics that would enter the White House with a President Pence.  But the biggest reason is, again, the skill and professionalism of our protector caste. 

Aside: A dozen years ago, after a speech at an alphabetical and secret agency, I asked a couple of senior guys the following question: “I know you can’t answer this, but do you have a group or division charged with watching out for subornation of high officials of the United States?” From puzzled looks, I realized that the word “subornation” seemed strange to them, despite the fact that this method was used in struggles between nations for 4000 years and is well described in Sun Tzu's The Art of War.

The word isn’t strange to them anymore, I betcha.  See a chilling image of DT grinning with the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, the day after Trump fired the man overseeing the investigation of Russia-GOP connections.

This is why many of you are hearing the term "Deep State" being bandied by your conservative friends and their hypnosis channels. After waging war upon almost every single profession that deals with facts – from science and teaching to journalism and so on – the cult now finds they must undermine and discredit the last few standing: the FBI, the Intelligence Community and the United States Military Officer Corps. "Deep State" is the clarion call to denounce those fact-users, as well, by raising the spectre of an Orwellian "inner party" or concealed state run by conspiratorial bureaucrats.  

Mind you, I do think Suspicion of Authority is an important factor in the American psyche! And deep states have happened and might happen here. But right now, the protector caste is blatantly our main hope for maintaining the one thing most in danger of utter destruction by Fox and its co-conspirators.

Grownup maturity. The patriotic adulthood to respond calmly and purposefully, when we have clearly been invaded and suborned.

“To me, the question might finally come down to this,” Celeste Wallander, President Obama’s senior adviser on Russia, said. “Will Putin expose the failings of American democracy or will he inadvertently expose the strength of American democracy?”

The loony-immature impeachment impatience

Back to the panic room. Those waving their arms and screaming "Impeach now!" are either shrill fools or else work for the Kochs, who can see everything they built being discredited by Donald Trump.  Take this fellow's spiel in Der Spiegel. "A Danger to the World  It's Time to Get Rid of Donald Trump:  Donald Trump has transformed the United States into a laughing stock and he is a danger to the world. He must be removed from the White House before things get even worse."

Bull and and 100% wrong, in every conceivable way.  As I have said elsewhere, timing is key. Trump is a GOP problem, now. Our civil servants and intelligence and military communities are now fully warned about him and are busy isolating and neutralizing his ability to do sudden or devastating harm.  Sure, he can still wreak havoc on budgets and short term international relations and court appointments etc… I am not making light of all this. But on the truly major, existential plane, he is currently not really a danger to anyone but the Republican Party.  

Whereas (I cannot repeat too often) Mike Pence is a truly dedicated Dominionist, who would fill the White House with tightly disciplined apocalypse fans. Read about why patience is now our greatest virtue.

More on the Dominionists below.

Worshiping Reagan?

As Doyle McManus reports in the LA Times, “There are two kinds of conservatives in the Republican Party now: those who still invoke the memory of Ronald Reagan, and those who see more value in Trumpism…. When President Trump spoke at the conference on Friday, he never mentioned Reagan’s name at all.  Neither did Stephen K. Bannon, the president's chief theoretician. Instead, they talked about what Bannon called “a new political order” — one that leaves big parts of Reaganism behind.”

McManus focuses on policy differences between Reagan and Trump, and they are many. But this drift toward omitting the central deity of conservatism has a deeper meaning. Quick. Name one GOP leader between Reagan and Ryan who was even mentioned at the 2016 Republican Convention!

Except for frenzied Trumpist Newt Gingrich, all were brushed under the rug, including both Bushes, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Dennis (friend to boys) Hastert, Tom (convicted felon) DeLay, Boehner, McCain, Dole, Romney….  In fact, name a Republican between Eisenhower and Ryan who was even mentioned by the party at the RNC, other than Reagan and Newt! This shows how writhing ashamed Republicans are, of their record at governance.  How desperate they are, to double down with new heroes, shouting "squirrel!" and pointing offstage at ever-greater hallucinations, rather than face the fact that their side has gone insane.

Trump reversals add up daily

“President Donald Trump says he’s open to raising the federal gas tax to fund infrastructure improvements — a position that could pit him against his fellow Republicans in Congress and might hit rural voters who supported him harder than others.” -- reports Bloomberg News.

Yipe! “President Trump said Monday he’s considering breaking up major Wall Street banks and could support bringing back a Depression-era law separating consumer and investment banking.” -- reports The Hill.

And now he calls the House "health bill" – which he praised to the skies, a month ago – "mean and completely wrongheaded. Oh. My.

The Prosperity Gospel Strikes

We’ve all heard of it. The Prosperity Gospel preaches that God rewards virtue in this life, in direct proportion to the degree that a person follows a specific set of doctrines, incantations and beliefs… and not just heavenly reward, but with money and health, as well. As evidence, the preachers point – to themselves! Aren’t they prospering, from the donations of tens of thousands of followers? When a parishioner has luck, they claim credit. When bad fortune falls? You didn’t believe fervently enough.

What about the testimony of history? That health and wealth have only a slight correlation with virtuous living? Answer: what kind of a sinful nerd would cite – or even knows any – history? Ah, but it’s accelerating, as tens of millions double down on a hysteric sense of denial, as demonstrated in this interesting article, showing how the GOP “health plan will hurt the very people frothing for it.

“Trump’s rise came as a preacher of the prosperity gospel. His promise to repeal Obamacare and replace it with just about nothing in particular relied as much on dissatisfaction with the current law as it did the delirious optimism of prosperity, and the idea that the real way to better America was to make life better for healthy and wealthy people, and to further link the two,” writes Vann Newkirk in The Atlantic.

The Dominionist Core

The “American ISIS is called “Dominionism” – an offshoot of fundamentalist Christianity that proclaims its desire for a coming apocalypse, as foretold in the gruesomely sadistic and opposite-to-Jesus-in-all-ways Book of Revelation.  Moreover, while they strive to topple our civilization, they also fervently declare that:

  • The United  States once was, and should again be, a doctrinal Christian nation, denying the equality of other religions, or even other versions of Christianity.
  • Dominionists endorse theocratic visions. The U.S. Constitution should be seen as a vehicle for implementing Biblical principles.
  • Dominionists hold that wealthy people are superior to the rest of humanity and that government should be captured by them to serve only them.

As evidence of the last point, Dominionist preachers point to themselves – rich as Midas from parishioner donations that are never taxed. Dominionism means they no longer hide their mansions, ranches and helicopters, but flaunt them as proof of God’s love, promising poor suckers that they, too, will have helicopters, once the unbelievers are toppled and their wealth redistributed.

Blog commentaror Peter Olotka wrote in with the following tabulation of Dominionists in the Trump Administration -- all  of them recruited and vetted by Trump’s Dominionist Vice President:

  • Vice President  Mike Pence  
  • HUD Secretary  Ben Carson
  • Education Secretary  Betsy DeVos
  • Energy Secretary  Rick Perry
  • Attorney General  Jeff Sessions
  • CIA Director  Mike Pompeo
  • Agriculture Secretary  Sonny Perdue
  • HHS Secretary Tom Price
  • EPA Director  Scott Pruitt

Note that Trump had never met most of the Cabinet before he was President. Then, recently added: Voter Fraud Commission: Kris Kobach, Secretary of State in bankrupt Kansas. And rumored to be on the shortlist for FBI Director: John Cornyn. 

Other powerful members of the cult include Steve Bannon & Kelly Ann Conway. Both are on the Council for National Policy a secretive Dominionist organization which has been planning a US government take over for decades. Kelly Ann is on the executive committee: Earlier notable (raving) dominionists included Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman. There have also long been rumors – backed up by investigative reporting – of a cabal of Dominionist Air Force Generals who are high in the nuclear chain of command. (The other services have resisted this infiltration.)

I have certainly written about the Dominionist frenzy. My own take is that this movement – along with almost every other aspect of this debacle – is driven not so much by religious faith as by:

  • The needs of a swathe of oligarchs (not all billionaires, but a lot of them) who want to lock in feudal social order…
  • Hatred of intellect. Of all the smartypants city/university types. This is why Hillary Clinton miscalculated, thinking DT's own words would bury him. He rose up in the esteem of the confederate rank and file, each time he infuriated us; that was his chief attractive trait and remains so.  

This means his bulwark of support, the untouchable core of maybe 1/3 of the population, will not be moved by our complaints over crazy stuff. Every seething yelp we emit goes straight to their pleasure centers.

Bear in mind that impeaching Trump will empower these people, even more! Wait. Wait until Congress changes hands. And I'll tell you later how to do that.

We need new tactics.

Surveillance and such

This interactive map shows which hotels around the world are part of Operation Bedbug – an intense campaign by the Chinese government to buy up hotel chains that might then spy on guests, tapping the house WiFi, installing cameras and bugs, especially in locales that host tech conferences. 

This honey pot trap was exposed at the famed Waldorf-Astoria in NYC, by INVNT/IP and Mark Anderson’s Strategic News Service. As a result, the Waldorf lost so much business from (rightfully) paranoid officials and executives that the hotel effectively went out of business.     

Not mentioned is the other danger – using these hotels to lure lonely officials into bad judgment and behaviors that make them subject to blackmail. ALL of you should beware.

Republicans vs Democrats

And finally… a few things that are independent of left-right politics distinguish Republican presidents from Democratic ones.  Exceptionally telling is what they do after leaving office.  

GOP ex-presidents — 100% of them — retire to a ranch or farm, hold court, play golf, engage in some craft, sit on a few corporate boards. 

DP ex-presidents — almost all of them — scurry about frenetically and busily arm-twisting and speaking for causes, trying to save the world.  The one exception was Lyndon Johnson, who was so exhausted and wounded in the post-Vietnam miasma that he just kinda waited on his ranch for it all to end ASAP.

There are other distinguishing traits. Every Democratic nominee for president chooses a running mate who is both highly qualified and rather boring. 

With one exception, GOP nominees pick running mates who are spectacularly unqualified to run a great, technologically advanced and forward looking civilization. That exception was Ronald Reagan, whose choice was – on paper — hugely well qualified.  And that choice went on to become the worst president of the 20th Century. (His son is no longer the worst of the 21st Century. Some distinction.)

See another non-political hint at the core difference of personality between the parties… obsession with symbolism… which also lies at the heart of our present madness.

An amusing anecdote how one fellow – frustrated by a bad grade – was almost entirely responsible for getting through the most recent amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is also a warning to put time limits on these things.

And now enough. This perspective-dumps just keep getting longer, alas. Oh for a boringly grownup republic, once more.

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