Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Blow It Up

I did not want to be spending my time chronicling what was so depressingly easy to foresee.  But here I am, still doing it.  For now.

When you are an unprincipled politician in the White House, let alone an apprentice dictator, and things are going badly, your policies are failing, your poll numbers are dropping, people aren't taking you seriously, what else do you do but send the American military out to blow something up.

At least this time they didn't start with a country.  Just an airfield.  But as a trial balloon, a pilot for a more extensive series, it worked great.  US media ate it up.

And if you find yourself slowly encircled by federal law enforcement, by the FBI and (at least until January 20) the CIA, you need to change the subject, and the best way to do that is to send the American military out to blow something up.  That only works long term however if you can whip up patriotic feeling and identify horrible enemies.  Fortunately they are always out there, ready made.

So now the media is talking about Syria and Russia, and not about the latest happenings in the White House regime--when it was a campaign--coordinating with Russia to bend the presidential election their way by unlawful means.  If you're interested, Rachel Maddow connects the most recent dots.

Keith Olbermann and Paul Krugman call the bombing a stunt.  It's more complicated than that, and more cynical, because the suffering and killing from chemical weapons is real.  But basically, if a stunt is a big noise with little effect done for politics, yes.  It was and is.

I don't know how many ways I have to say it but it's been clear from the beginning. The only way our apprentice dictator succeeds is by war.

The media loves war, for awhile, but for long enough.  Low wattage voters love war, as long as other peoples' sons and daughters are fighting it.  It's a little dicey, since war is more unpopular than it has ever been, but with the right marketing it can be sold.

  War also helps gain control of the military, which our apprentice dictator needs to become a master.  He already has the border patrol and immigration, where fascism is ascendant.  It seems that everything to do with travel, from the TSA to the airlines themselves, is going in an authoritarian direction.  Maybe that's the first place that the intersection of authoritarian rule and the rule of money becomes obvious.

There's another group worth mentioning.  Lacking the same national profile as in the past, white Evangelicals weren't talked about much in 2016.  But they voted, overwhelmingly for Homemade Hitler.  They voted for a Supreme Court that will end legal abortion.

They are also deeply embedded in the R party.  The youth movement that was brought into the R party in the latter 1980s and 90s, that served as foot soldiers in 2000 and in the Bush administration, had as their entry point into politics the evangelical movement, and political organizations founded and run by evangelicals (including Catholics.)  Some of them are highly placed in this White House.

In the New York Review of Books, the eminent Garry Wills reviews the eminent Frances FitzGerald's new book on American evangelicals.  He notes what it is easy for some of us to forget, that evangelicals are all about the coming apocalypse, which they welcome, because the world is damned, but they will be saved.  That, and the highly emotional appeal, motivates them to disdain science and social justice, because they just miss the point, when they aren't evidence of worshipping false gods.

Their most emotional issue is what they call the "baby murder" of abortion. Notice how many times Homemade Hitler said "babies" in describing the television pictures that he said motivated his attack. But even without this specific motivation, war can spark their enthusiasm, especially as it is seen to hasten Armageddon.  This only adds to the frenzy fed by the media.

And here I've wasted another chunk of my dwindling functional time, rattling on about the obvious, when others can do it for larger audiences.  Whatever the tragic flaw was that brought Homemade Hitler into power, the tragedy was thereafter inevitable. Maybe it's resistance of a sort.  But it's not all that healthy to be doing play by play.

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