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.