Trump is using guerilla warfare tactics in an information war.
A recurring theme in America’s presidential reality TV show features the power of the possibility of tapes evoking wild outbursts from Donald J. Trump. Yesterday, the president unleashed a string of slurs against Omarosa, his wicked witch reality TV creation from his previous career as a reality TV star.
I wrote the above paragraph last night before I went to bed and I think that the probability of tapes existing can be gauged by the extremity of Trump’s denials. Based on this, I think it’s very likely that a Trump using the n-word tape and a Trump with hookers in Moscow tape might exist, because Trump’s reactions indicate (to me at least) that he acts guilty as hell and is worried he was caught on tape.
Yesterday Trump tweeted:
When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!
This morning I read a piece by Jonathan V. Last at The Weekly Standard, echoing some of my own thoughts about the Trump tape sagas that “dog” Trump’s presidency. Last explains the Trump spin force:
“The other factor in why you need documentary materials is that the president, his advisers, and his supporters in the media use gaslighting as their primary means of defense. They make frictionless transitions from “no one ever met with Russians,” to “the meeting with Russians was about adoption,” to “of course they met with Russians about getting oppo on the Clintons and why do you have have a problem with that?”
Without tapes, or emails, or hard evidence, Trump World simply denies everything as a matter of course.”
Many of Trump’s opponents refer to the Trump spin effort as “gaslighting” and that term is accurate, but it misses the scope of what spin really is. Gaslighting using mass media deception, manipulation, deliberately falsified news is information warfare waged on the American people, as I’ve written many times. Our domestic scorched earth information war is a bigger threat to America than any hostile foreign information warfare operations will ever be. Our own news media operators engaging in scorched earth spin information warfare foments constant disunity, partisan rage and hysteria. America’s news media live in crisis mode and it’s destabilizing our American political system.
Getting back to Trump’s present unwinding tape problem, Last lays out what he thinks will happen if a n-word tape surfaces. He believes it will hollow out one of the few remaining norms in American public life and alienate Trump politically, but it will not lead to Trump’s impeachment. He also lays out in pretty grim terms how he believes Trump will react:
“So now we must imagine what a weakened Trump would be like for the next two years. Do you think he’d knuckle down, start acting like a statesman, and try to unite the country? Or do you think he’d push for more chaos and division in the hopes of somehow drawing to an inside straight (again)? Assuming he does, the only possible downside of such a strategy, from Trump’s perspective, would be salting the ground of American political life for any potential successor. And he would view this not as a bug, but as a feature.
If you look at the Trump administration and think it can’t get worse, then you haven’t contemplated what a scorched-earth Trump might be like.”
What happens if a tape surfaces and Trump faces White House and cabinet defections or goes on a firing rampage and decides to choose staff who prod him to more extreme behavior rather than like many of the current ones who keep trying to talk him down from the ledge? What happens if instead of Trump just waging an “insurgency” to burn down the GOP, he decides he’s going to take down all of his perceived political enemies? What happens if he starts turning to only advisers prodding him to “burn it all down in Washington”? What happens if Putin starts putting the screws to Trump, because Trump made all sorts of agreements in his private meeting with Putin in Helsinki and isn’t delivering on them?
All those campaign spin efforts to sell Trump the “GOP Insurgent” may come back to haunt us. The one that comes to mind is one I first heard from Charles Hurt, a FOX News contributor and strident Trump propagandist, happily chirping on about how great it is that “Trump doesn’t play by the rules.” All of the LIES used in spin are used to confuse and manipulate people, but most of all to erode their moral grounding by deliberately altering the meaning of words. In America, a keystone to our republic’s stability is “Everyone must play by the rules.” Selling a politician who “doesn’t play by the rules” is unabashedly selling public corruption as a good thing.
Last’s questions, as Omarosa’s tell-all book, Unhinged, sets Trump’s hair on fire, got me thinking about what Trump “unhinged” will look like. I believe he will abuse the powers of the presidency to the fullest extent, to not only remain in office, but to work to burn as much of the political system in Washington to the ground as possible. He is very much what Sun Tzu termed a “mad bandit”. A year ago, I wrote a blog post, Our Thoth, God of 140-characters, about Trump’s propaganda efforts:
“Donald J. Trump is the king of conflating issues His use of words is the polar opposite of Bill Clinton’s brand of “slick”. Trump uses simplistic “branding” phrases, often divorced from the rest of the sentences he utters. The sentences don’t matter in Trump’s dumbed-down, branding type of information warfare.
Trump transformed the Clinton spin information warfare, that relied on carefully worded, focus-group tested talking points, repeated by a vast army of colluding journalists and political operatives, into rapid-fire, Army of One, Trump-driven 140-character, daily information warfare guerilla attacks.
He’s using guerilla warfare tactics in an information war.
Trump word salad attacks break all the rules. He strikes with bold-faced lies and never looks back. Trump doesn’t even bother to obfuscate. He boldly lies, then insists all those around him repeat and back his lies, no matter how outrageous the lie.
He has perfected the art of conflating issues into being all about “Make America Great Again”. Trump seized on the issue of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest over racial injustice and conflated it into disrespecting the U.S. military. He creates endless reality TV conflicts, casting himself as the champion of American patriotism, who is the constantly maligned victim of the dastardly “fake news”. He wants to keep his supporters agitated and angry, while he wraps himself in the American flag and MAGA sound bites.
Yesterday, in his effort to deflect from a reporter questioning why he hasn’t called the families of recently fallen soldiers, Trump bold-faced lied about President Obama and other presidents, claiming they didn’t call fallen soldiers’ families.
General Dempsey, who has tried to stay out of the 2016 information war, took to Twitter last night to counter Trump’s LIE.
Our Thoth, God of 140-characters, manages to manipulate millions, mostly poor white people, by playing to their insecurities, their prejudices and most of all their anger.
The smarter Trump followers aren’t blind to his many flaws, but they’ve bought into a Faustian bargain, all prefaced on the belief that America is at the Flight 93 crisis point:
“2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.
Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.”
At every Trump outrage they cringe, but then they fortify themselves by talking amongst themselves about how the Left is worse, but Gorsuch, and turn up the volume of FOX News blaring about how Trump is “making America great again”. And of course, the Left leads only to American demise… Trump is the last best hope in their view.
Trump is a “fighter”…
Flight 93 had some real heroes on board; the Trump propaganda train jumped the tracks into tin pot dictator level, Dear Leader, bowing and scraping.
Over the weekend, I walked into the room where my husband was watching FOX News, like always. Jerry Falwell, Jr. was blathering on about how President Trump will likely go down in history as a great president, as great as President Lincoln. The FOX sycophantic hosts are as dutiful as the Pink Lady in North Korea.
They smiled, heads nodding, and agreed with Falwell.
Make America Great Again…”
If you want to understand Trump’s spin effort, the bold-faced sentence at the beginning needs to be your starting point, not touchy-feely “public relations” dissertations on political media relations. Trump assuredly is not a politician, in fact he sees himself as a “fighter who doesn’t play by the rules”.
The Trump presidency won’t end soon… or quietly.
6 responses to “American nightmare: Trump the American Insurgent”
Just my personal feeling but I have serious doubts we’ll be hearing any taped recording wherein Trump uses the word.
But really … in the charged atmosphere (and agency media) we’ve been submersed in these past few years all it takes for “faith” to take root is an allegation. Simply recall the last President’s confident pooh poohing any possibility in which he,.and all the experts, comfortably amused themselves with.
Which, pooh poohing held until the exact moment Pennsylvania’s Electoral College came in.
I feel pretty confident saying that if Omarosa has something along the lines of that word being used she will hold on to that one as her last ditch attack. She will want to exact as much damage as she can stringing the media & Trump along. I kind of miss the days when presidents weren’t making news 24/7 every day.
Is her book still selling well?
You’re probably, maybe right though … about her holding if she has the goods. If she has the goods.
“Goods” used alliteratively for want of a better word.
Don’t know about her book sales, but she seems to have been sidelined by the media at the moment, since “McCarthyism” is the big spin topic being charged and counter-charged this weekend.
Guess, it will move to hysteria about the 25th Amendment soon & Senator Warner was promising another grandstanding amendment to stop Trump.
Thing is Trump, by his own words, is personalizing the use of presidential power with revoking Brennan’s clearance. That’s jumping from the frying pan into the fire, ostensibly dealing with politicizing intelligence by pulling clearances in a manner that smacks of personal vendettas. It can quickly lead to serious abuse of power and Trump seems to not have any clear grasp of presidential power limitations, moral foundation of our government or even how the federal government functions. Like I’ve said repeatedly… um, he’s not much on details.
However, the mainstream media purer-than-the-driven-snow portrayal of Brennan and these other top Obama officials stinks to high heaven with that Steele dossier. Something very weird was going on with Comey & friends from the July 2016 presser clearing Hillary, even though he went to great lengths to lay out the email “chains” (whole bunch of top Obama peeps in those “chains”, including Obama using a private gmail account) on through the whole Steele dossier revelations.
That said, the mainstream media keeps feeding Trump hysteria and FOX is off the rails with Hillary/Obama deflections constantly & ramping up hysteria that Trump is a victim in all this.
I still believe Trump & the Clintons are lying snakes, who will do or say anything to cover their behinds. No innocent victims among them, just endless smokescreens & lies, lies, and more lies.
Just a personal thing where clearances are concerned … people can easily make do without ’em. I got “in a little speck” back when I demurred from the IC’s “Slam Dunk” back in 2002 (let’s recall Colin Powell and his Pottery Barn proverb) then, officially, got shed of it after a certain SecState took the position.
I don’t think I’ve lost much.
And, after seeing Brennan on all those talk shows today I can’t see he’s “lost his First Amendment guarantees much either.
“There is no doubt that CIA history is largely written by the analysts, whose stories may be boring but they know how to get things on paper effectively. (Old spooks who can write well, like DO legend Bob Baer, are the exception that proves the rule.) The frequent NCS/DO denunciation of DI “dorks” is based in resentment, not least because top Agency and IC jobs go more often to analysts than to “real” spooks. The career of John Brennan, the current Agency director, is instructive. A DI analyst by background, he played the Langley, then Beltway, game effectively, securing plum staff jobs along the way up, including Chief of Station Riyadh (a rare job for an analyst), then riding to the very top by ingratiating himself with President Bush, then with President Obama.”
“*Brennan recently proposed the most dramatic CIA reorganization ever, suggesting the melding of the DI and NCS/DO, to overcome the Agency’s persistent internal problems.”
“It’s disappointing that hardly any commentators have noted that CIA is currently being taken down a path of real militarization. The major reforms recently proposed by Director John Brennan are causing serious bureaucratic churn out at Langley. Brennan, using the highly successful Counterterrorism Center (CTC) as a model of how to fully integrate case officers and desk-bound analysts, wants to fundamentally transform CIA by creating a series of mission centers that will bring the spooks and geeks together in one big happy intelligence family.”
“Many spooks are none too happy about Brennan’s reorganization since they believe it will reduce the DO’s ability to control espionage operations, which seems to be a safe assumption, and what the director actually intends. As a sop, the DO got its old name back — it was rebranded as the National Clandestine Service in the post-9/11 reforms, for no particular reason — while the DI will be renamed the Directorate of Analysis. However, the discomfort in spook circles was serious enough that the Deputy Director for Operations, the mighty DDO, announced his retirement rather than preside over changes that many think equal disbanding the DO, de facto.”
“It doesn’t help that the media is silent about the implications of all this. Like so many things, the voices that waxed hysterically when Bush was said to be militarizing CIA are quieter when Obama does that, and more. Based on the IC’s history, it feels safe to predict that Brennan’s far-reaching reorganization will cause years of churn out at Langley, and eventually there will be a re-reorg to undo these deep organizational changes when they turn out to have created more problems than they solved. That do-over will be the task of the next director, and will be handled tactfully, once Brennan has gotten his Medal of Freedom and his book deal.”
I hear you JK, but in my mind I divide things, into separate issues.
Presidential power should be used to execute the duties of the office, I believe and although all presidents bring along a partisan agenda that they hope to achieve, most realize very quickly the constraints of being president of all of America. I got very concerned with the level of partisanship and overt efforts to politicize every function of the executive branch under Obama. Trump is personalizing presidential power – he acts then his staff & Congressional supporters come to the rescue to offer cover with reasonable explanations for Trump’s actions, despite Trump stating his unethical reasons up front. That his political enemies, like Brennan, who behaves like a political hack, are so easy to dislike, it’s easy to jump in and say there were plenty of reasons to yank his clearance. I prefer some sort of process that is clearly understood and non-partisan. The Trump list of people under consideration, the way it has been used as spin fodder on FOX and the way Trump operates as a one-man show who acts without even informing his own closest advisers, then they are forced to hobble together some reasonable explanation that will pass the smell test, makes me wonder how far he will go reacting based on his anger watching TV or consulting his outside advisers. Bolton had no details on Brennan’s alleged abuses.
Now, as to the retaining clearances, I understand the “institutional knowledge” argument, however I believe our government now treats former top officials like celebrities, who are beyond reproach, even when they’ve been found to have been, oh, how to put this, “extremely careless”, handling classified information. (See James Comey’s acting like Hillary’s defense attorney when he explained his decision on her email investigation to Congress). She’s too powerful & famous to have to follow any rules. I wonder if Petraeus & Hillary still have clearances?
The other issue with this “institutional knowledge” argument rests on the rancorous partisan divide in America, where it’s highly unlikely the Trump WH will be calling Brennan or Clapper to seek their advice on anything. This also goes to a constitutional weakness in our system, that has never been remedied. By resting so much power in the president to conduct foreign affairs, with each partisan shift in the WH, American foreign policy shifts focus and for decades, each administration tries to ditch the previous administration’s entire foreign policy approach, while facing much resistance from DoD, CIA, State Dept.
We have a system that breeds inconsistency in American foreign policy, I think. I don’t think most of these people retaining clearances need them. I also don’t understand why we have a security clearance structure where people who are obvious high-value hostile foreign intel targets possess the power to waive clearances for their staffs. I’ve wondered for years if Ms O’Bagy has a security clearance. She was fired from ISW for lying on her application, then McCain turned right around and hired her. Huma Abedin had a security clearance and no idea with her family’s close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood how she was cleared. Then there was the Awan brothers managing computers for dozens of Dems in Congress. They at the very least had disreputable backgrounds – financials especially. Anyhoo, Congress always writes in special privileges for themselves.
They should tighten the entire security clearance process, imo, but it’s doubtful Congress will ever take away any of their special privileges and rules, even ones that create a huge security vulnerability. Trump’s list smacks so much of a personal vendetta to take down his enemies, that it will do nothing to improve national security, but it assuredly will create more chaos, partisan anger and raging spin cycles.
Politicians disgust me – all of them!