“Political chaos is connected with the decay of language” said the bragaddocious George Orwell. It’s difficult to keep pace with the craziness but one shining light was the thought that Robert Harward dropped out of running for National Security Advisor after watching Trump’s press conference, (and presumably after realising he’d be a security advisor excluded from security information).
Many people are trying to summarise and make sense of what’s going on. Boing Boing brings you a summary of the worst press conference ever witnessed.
Their Xeni Jardin writes: “Now, on to a rarely-heard sotto voce dogwhistle to white supremacists. This part’s all about The Blacks and The Mexicans, aka The Illegals, who are responsible for everything bad…
“We’ve ordered the Department of Homeland Security and Justice to coordinate on a plan to destroy criminal cartels coming into the United States with drugs. We’re becoming a drug infested nation. Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars. We are not going to let it happen any longer.”
We then get into a perfect storm where ‘illegals’ – the new war on drugs and hyper-militarisation are brought together.
“I’ve ordered plan to begin building for the massive rebuilding of the United States military. Had great support from the Senate, I’ve had great from Congress, generally.
We’ve pursued this rebuilding in the hopes that we will never have to use this military, and I will tell you that is my – I would be so happy if we never had to use it. But our country will never have had a military like the military we’re about to build and rebuild. We have the greatest people on earth in our military, but they don’t have the right equipment and their equipment is old. I used it; I talked about it at every stop. Depleted, it’s depleted – it won’t be depleted for long. And I think one of the reason I’m standing here instead of other people is that frankly, I talked about we have to have a strong military.”
But by far the most alarming note amongst the cacaophony of craziness is the comments about mass deportation. AP press run the first exclusive on this (‘AP Exclusive: DHS weighed Nat Guard for immigration roundups’): “The White House distanced itself Friday from a Department of Homeland Security draft proposal to use the National Guard to round up unauthorized immigrants, but lawmakers said the document offers insight into the Trump administration’s internal efforts to enact its promised crackdown on illegal immigration.
Administration officials said the proposal, which called for mobilizing up to 100,000 troops in 11 states, was rejected, and would not be part of plans to carry out President Donald Trump’s aggressive immigration policy.”
But this is part of a well-worn strategy of what’s called foreshadowing. You threaten to do something politically outrageous, beyond the pale. Then you say you wouldn’t really do it, but by introducing it you have changed the landscape, changed the language of the debate.
Then when you do it, everyone has kind of gotten used to it already.
— TIME (@TIME) February 16, 2017
In these dark days John Bercow, Fraser Nelson, Tony Blair and the CIA are our allies. Not necessarily in that order.
I’m not buying.
Blair’s bizarre intervention will save nothing, other than his own discredited, blood-smeared reputation. In fact much of the appeasing authoritarian figures abroad, introducing moral ambiguity about torture, cultivating a nationalist populism and what is politely called ‘military interventionism’ can be traced directly back to Blair.
As fear-induced craziness swings wildly to the right it’s vital to establish some anchor points. These used to be called principles and are sometimes known as ‘values’. Here’s some: don’t capitulate to fascists, freedom of movement is a right, internationalism, colour and religion aren’t the basis for discrimination, women are people.
‘Like a sow playing on a trump’. We are right to focus on the ungraciousness, the poisonous vulgarity of his language and manners. But you don’t have a Secretary of Defense called ‘Mad Dog’ for no reason, a man who should be tried for war crimes serving if you are just a joke.
But if we get mesmerised by the strangled language and the buffoonery we let slip the political actions seeping out of the most venal regime you’ve ever seen. Bawbag and Trump Draws are vital satire but we need to avoid it all just becoming another joke.