17 February 2017

Trying to Keep Focused in a Spinning World

Steel Mills, Fighter Jets, Leaks and Fake News
This isn't about keeping our eyes on Christ amid a world that seems bent on chaos. That goes without saying.
I'm talking about what's happening on the street.

We have some media sectors spinning lies about Trump's economic accomplishments. He has indeed signed a few executive orders but once investigated it's revealed that they don't mean much... and certainly haven't resulted in anything yet. The multitude of jobs he's created... don't seem to exist.
I was in a local hardware store the other day waiting in line listening to a conversation going on nearby. One animated patron informed the room that a steel mill down in West Virginia was opening back up. Trump's not perfect but at least he's doing something we were told.
I didn't even have to research the issue to know it was false. I didn't doubt the possibility of a steel mill re-opening. Of course any such re-openings are going to be massively scaled down operations compared to what they had been forty years ago. They will have far fewer jobs and at much lower wages. These are often 'boutique' mills, engaged in specialty work. The days of big steel production in the United States are long gone. Those that think we're returning to the hey-day of post-war industrial might are in for a shock.
But can a steel mill re-open or even announce re-opening because of a president who's been in office three weeks?
Of course not. These things take months, even years. If someone had an inkling to re-open a plant they would have to spend many months just pursuing permits and inspections... just to get to the stage where construction/remodel work could begin.
Getting the permitting and financing in place for a small office space in three weeks can be a challenge... let alone a large industrial facility.
The mill in West Virginia located north of Wheeling has been a point of focus and discussion for quite some time. Trump had nothing to do with it.
Likewise he's taking credit for driving down the cost of the F-35 fighter, the most expensive weapon system in history. The negotiations for a price reduction and re-structuring had been in the works for well over a year. What Trump did was, he called attention to it, though industry insiders and people who follow military hardware journals etc. already knew about it. He had nothing to do with the price reduction or even the amount. If he did anything, he accelerated the time-table for the finalisation of the negotiations. The public scrutiny drove the parties to speed things up, but the monetary amounts were not affected.
Leaks are once more the focus of a great deal of attention. While they were heartily decried by Democrats during the last administration, there's little protest at the moment. Leaks that were once treasonous are now patriotic.
Journalists are openly calling for the Deep State act and indeed it seems to be happening. What is unknown at this point is the tempo.
These leaks have also exposed yet another lie... the notion that citizens were not being listened to by the intelligence agencies. The Flynn conversations were picked up due to the monitoring of Russians. This shows the silliness of the argument that citizens aren't being monitored. The Intel services just happen to monitor everyone else and so if you talk to anyone outside the country, email anyone or even visit an international website... you're being tracked and monitored.
Of course in revealing that the communications of these Russian diplomats was compromised, the leakers have now exposed some key elements regarding the nature of US surveillance. In other contexts, there would be calls for treason trials and capital punishment for exposing US intelligence operations.
But that's not the case today.
Personally I couldn't care less either way but I find the hypocrisy to be noteworthy.
Leaks have been used by everyone at different times. They are politicised and at this moment it's clear that elements in the Deep State wanted Flynn gone. The media is clearly supporting the narrative.
They're trying to suggest that this US general is somehow a traitor. That's ridiculous. He's no traitor. If anything he's a zealot. But he represents a faction within the Establishment that wants to shift US geopolitical strategy. They're blunt in their assessment of who the enemy is viz., China. In addition to China, the next enemy on the list is Islam. In this take of the world, Orthodox, Conservative Russia is a natural ally. Flynn represents a faction that believes US foreign policy took a wrong turn in the wake of 2001. The Iraq invasion and the antagonising of Russia were a big mistake and a harmful distraction.
Flynn's assurances to the Russian ambassador would have been considered a trivial faux paus in another context. But the Establishment is doing all it can to drive a wedge between Trump and Moscow. They don't want rapprochement. They want to continue the push for war.
There's quite a story here, but as usual the media is spinning it.
Perhaps the biggest story that's been downplayed is the admission that figures within the intelligence community are withholding information from the White House. They don't trust Trump with classified information and so they're keeping it from him.
This wouldn't be the first time US intelligence agencies have operated outside the purview or authority of the White House. But it isn't something that's going to be openly admitted to a major US newspaper like the Wall Street Journal. The fact that they're doing so sends a very strong signal. The stage is being set.
And you can be sure the media will do its part.
There is plenty of fake news being put out. Trump isn't wrong there. However, Trump reminds one of Joseph McCarthy. Tailgunner Joe was always hunting communists and was convinced agents had infiltrated the government.
He was right. There were some communists within the US government.
That said, Joe McCarthy was probably the very last person who had any hope of actually finding one. A buffoon extraordinaire McCarthy pranced about, grandstanded, wasted time and destroyed many lives and reputations. Despite his failures and absurdities he wielded tremendous power for a season. He reached too far and fell hard.
Trump's right. There is plenty of fake news out there but I'm sure that he has little hope of identifying it or coming to the truth of the matter. He's cunning, perhaps more so than someone like McCarthy but he's not sophisticated, nuanced or even educated enough to wade through the news and events of the day.

But when you have a public that's convinced that steel mills are opening up because Trump's been in office three weeks... then you certainly don't have to worry about losing the support of your base.


  1. What's also funny about McCarthy is how he queer-baited the Truman and Eisenhower administrations, to the point where mild-mannered Ike wanted to strangle him. But his downfall was his own strange life, being single right up until he hit the spotlight, in addition to his friends, especially Roy Cohn.

    Maybe I am thinking too highly, but the almost absurd antics and attention Trump is drawing to his actions might be calculated. With the American mind reduced almost to a twitter-feed, its like Trump is playing a strange game. With one hand, he is dangling meat in front of the dancing bear of public opinion, with the other he battling enemy Establishment factions. It's almost as if he knows if people create an echo chamber of how vain and arrogant he is, no one will be drawn to pay attention to the 'stasis' of Washington politics.

  2. Yeah Ike had enough of McCarthy.

    Yes the queer hunters Cohn, probably Schine, Hoover and yes, maybe even old 'tail'gunner Joe himself were all a bunch on pansies.

    I do think it is somewhat calculated. It's not orchestrated and yet Trump intuitively has learned how to connect with our modern grunt and pictograph society. He's got the press scrambling. Between him, Spicer, Conway etc... the media is just tearing its hair out. Just like the campaign, it was new thing almost every single day. The endless coverage which should have destroyed him... won him enough of the popular vote to capture the electoral college and win.

    This whole thing is so weird, so unlike anything we've seen before. Thesis-antithesis-synthesis. The ball is being moved, even when this whack-job is gone, nothing will ever be the same. Even now the Luntz's, Rove's, Morris', Carville's etc... are re-writing the book.

    Lee Atwater is rolling over in his grave. He was lambasted for the type of campaign he ran in 1988. Child's play in today's world.