This Week In Doom, Sept.9: Crazytown

That-Was-The-Week-That-W-That-Was-The-Week-473964gc2smFrom the keyboard of Surly1
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Originally published on the Doomstead Diner on September 9, 2018

“Real power is, I don't even want to use the word, fear.”

 ― Donald Trump, interview with Bob Woodward, 2016  

This was a week in which the pace of bizarre and unsettling news swirling through the White House could only be described as "epic," a thesaurus full of superlatives thus drained. Excerpts from Bob Woodward's book, “Fear: Trump in the White House,” dropped, with the usual eruptions of "Lies!" and "Fake News!" uttered by the usual suspects. The book, which will be officially released on 9/11, promises to be a devastating, meticulously researched account of the Trump Presidency. This is Woodward's eighth book on a President; over 40 years, few have challenged his veracity. The book will be consulted as a first draft of the history of these dark times.

Major takeaways are that the work culture of Trump's White House is so toxic and volatile that many of 45’s top staffers are in the habit of working around a scattered, unstable and uninformed boss.

Trump has been floundering and reacting out of stress as a result of the Russia investigation and related probes. "Fear" was the first of a one-two punch, followed up by the "Anonymous" op ed published in the NYT.

 5 Takeaways From Bob Woodward’s Book on the Trump White House outlines key points, with few surprises:

  • The Russia investigation is a constant source of anxiety for Mr. Trump, and his lawyers.
  • Mueller engaged in lively conversations for months with Mr. Trump’s lawyers.
  • He's as ill-informed as you think: Trump’s advisers are repeatedly stunned by his lack of interest in and knowledge of major issues. 
  • Trump himself was not a primary source for the book.
  • John F. Kelly, the chief of staff, quickly soured on Mr. Trump

White House press secretary perpetual-motion-lie-machine Sarah Huckabee Sanders channeled her best Tammi Wynette with the usual dispatch:

“This book is nothing more than fabricated stories, many by former disgruntled employees, told to make the president look bad… Democrats and their allies in the media understand the President’s policies are working and with success like this, no one can beat him in 2020 – not even close.”

At least she's consistent. Trump was in rare form:

“The book means nothing, it’s a work of fiction…If you look back at Woodward’s past, he had the same problem with other presidents, he likes to get publicity, he sells some books."

Doubling down, he later tweeted:

Isn’t it a shame that someone can write an article or book, totally make up stories and form a picture of a person that is literally the exact opposite of the fact, and get away with it without retribution or cost. Don’t know why Washington politicians don’t change libel laws?

Those quoted rushed to declaim their innocence and to deny that they had said any such thing. Mattis was quoted as saying Trump had the "understanding of a fifth-or-sixth grader." Kelly is quoted as saying of Orange Jesus, “He’s an idiot. It’s pointless to try to convince him of anything. He’s gone off the rails. We’re in Crazytown.” His former attorney, John Dowd, gets credit for “Don’t testify. It’s either that or an orange jumpsuit.” Gary Cohn removed papers from the Resolute desk. Trump is quoted as having called his attorney general "mentally retarded,” and a "traitor." Just a taste: the first ones are free.

Woodward's usual technique is to exhaustingly interview many people people close to or in the White House on "deep background," meaning their anonymity is assured. His books are based on hundreds of hours of firsthand reporting. 

Woodward's reputation is pretty bulletproof. Not every detail is assured, but the gist is that his accounts are remarkably reliable. All 18 of his nonfiction books in the past 35 years have been national bestsellers and 12  have been No. 1 national nonfiction bestsellers. He also takes to the lecture circuit, where my wife and I saw him, and formed a minority-view opinion of his act. Yet for all that, he retains more credibility than the White House's current occupant.

Top appointees are ‘thwarting’ Trump, says ‘senior official’ in administration in New York Times opinion piece

The number two punch is the memo by "Anonymous" published in the NY Times. This really has our boy spun up, inviting him to instruct house hobbit Jeffy Bo to search for the guilty author, even though such an investigation would be patently illegal.

The unnamed author wrote:

“We believe our first duty is to this country, and the president continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic. That is why many Trump appointees have vowed to do what we can to preserve our democratic institutions while thwarting Mr. Trump’s more misguided impulses until he is out of office.”

The Times column — headlined “I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration”, described a curious flavor of resistance is is indeed:

Ours is not the popular “resistance” of the left. We want the administration to succeed and think that many of its policies have already made America safer and more prosperous…

There are bright spots that the near-ceaseless negative coverage of the administration fails to capture: effective deregulation, historic tax reform, a more robust military and more.

This ain't a "resistance" I recognize. We're supposed to be somehow grateful?  Charlie Pierce said it best when he called out

… the careerist bleatings of anonymous sources who would like you to know that, by enabling El Caudillo Del Mar-a-Lago and his long, slow slide into howling madness,they are really keeping him from doing some real damage to the country, and shouldn't we all be grateful for their noble, selfless work. 

What the writer wants are Trumpian policies with less baggage, like fewer tweets or porn star payoffs. Trump later tweeted a one-word, all-caps reaction: “TREASON?” The search for the author began almost immediately and continues.

What this op-ed represents is and attempt to build lifeboats for those inside-the-Beltway conservatives who find themselves part of the Trump administration, but who envision the coming endgame, and imagine a life after Trump as part of a ruling Coalition of winners who will inherit power after the Great Man is gone. This is the same technique employed by conservatives after Bush the lesser, in which they shunned Bush, donned tricorn hats, and branded themselves "Tea Party independents." This only works because Americans, as a rule, remember nothing. Not for nothing did Gore Vidal once referred to this country as the "United States of Amnesia."Thus we will we skate on the frozen lakes of hell before Trump offers testimony to the Special Counsel. 

​Short takes

Some other things happened this week, but you may already be familiar with them. The confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh occurred this week featuring a great deal of contention over hidden papers, demonstrations, and debate about whether or not the nominee had lied to Congress under oath..

Senate concludes Kavanaugh hearing

Harris puts Kavanaugh on edge with Mueller question

Sen. Kamala Harris put Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on edge with a surprise question at his confirmation hearing on whether he spoke with anyone about the investigation into Russian election meddling. This after a week of scorched-earth procedures and tactics to prevent Trump from appointing his own judge in a possible future impeachment trial. This includes the Republicans hiding documents proving that Kavanaugh may have committed perjury. Whether any of this will be enough to derail his confirmation is not known.

The Collapse Of Society Is Coming

Michael Snyder sees harbingers in the fact that the rich have their own plans to survive the coming economic collapse (caused by out-of-control algorithms and flash trading) in survival bunkers being shipped from a Texas warehouse to the shores of New Zealand, where they’re buried 11 feet underground. The rich are planning their bolt-holes. Their plans don't include us.

Obama delivers full-throated rebuke of Trump's presidency

BHO returned to the campaign trail ahead of the midterms to rally the troops for the midterms, calling out Trump by name: "He is a symptom, not the cause." Obama is absolutely right, but he's decades too late. 

The loutish, bigoted and aggressively ignorant nature of the Republican base has never been a mystery to anyone… since Lee Atwater unleashed "Willie Horton" nigh on to 40 years ago….except, apparently, to Republican analysts, pollsters, ad-men, every Never Trump Republican now out pimping a book, every conservative think tank, media outlet and the entire Beltway political press. And any right wing troll who wanders into these hallowed grounds.

As noted above, Republicans rebranded themselves as a mighty army of Imaginary "Independents" who always arrive on the verge of saving us all from the Extremes on Both Sides. They are trying to escape the righteous judgment of history by rebranding themselves as some sort of faux resistance.

The "Tea Party" was always an astroturfed fraud. Nothing less than a heavily funded, carefully coordinated political playtoy designed to herd the rubes — the latest layer of Koch-funded, Fox News-promoted bilge splashed over the same goddamn box full of bigots and Bible-thumpers who have comprised the backbone of the Republican Party for most of my adult life.

After they led Poppy away by his drool-cup, there were four kinds of people in the GOP: traitors (e.g. the Kochs), messianic dominionist nut jobs (e.g. Pence), useful idiots (e.g. Tea Tarty), and geriatric bigots on holiday from the John Birch Society. They have always been with us, but we made them wear shoes and leave the room when company came. These people are less conservatives than dangerous, bomb-throwing, vehicular-manslaughter-committing white nationalists and nazis.

In Conservatives Without Conscience, John Dean had it exact:

“Probably about 20 to 25 percent of the adult American population is so right-wing authoritarian, so scared, so self-righteous, so ill-informed, and so dogmatic that nothing you can say or do will change their minds… They would march American into a dictatorship and probably feel that things had improved as a result. They have the mentality of ‘old-time religion’ on a crusade and they generously give money, time and effort to the cause. They proselytize; they lick stamps; they put pressure on loved ones; and they revel in being loyal to a cohesive group of like thinkers. And they are so submissive to their leaders that they will believe and do virtually anything they are told. They are not going to let up and they are not going to go away.”

They remain a minority, which is why they have to ease into control, one child-kidnapping, sanctuary-denying, flag-worshipping, pro-torture, Nike-burning, intolerant, anti-choice, anti-science, Republiconfederate skirmish at a time. No faux-sincere op-ed can disguise the cornpone, “Aw Shucks” Christopathy that, seen over the course of decades, has bumrushed this country relentlessly towards the coming authoritarian nightmare.

banksy 07-flower-thrower-wallpaperSurly1 is an administrator and contributing author to Doomstead Diner. He is the author of numerous rants, screeds and spittle-flecked invective here and elsewhere. He lives a quiet domestic existence in Southeastern Virginia with his wife Contrary. Descended from a long line of people to whom one could never tell anything, all opinions are his and his alone, because, by making every mistake in the book, he paid full retail for everything he has managed to learn.


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Becoming Anonymous: Which Side are YOU on?

Off the Keyboard of RE

Discuss this Article at the Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

In his article The Orkin Man: Which Side Are You On,  my fellow Admin here on the Diner Surly detailed his POV on how the Battle Lines shape up, along with all the excesses that result when Humanity resorts to violence as a means to resolve its problems, which basically amount to the inability we have shown over the last few millenia to share the resources of Mother Earth in some equitable fashion.  At least inside Western and Asian Ag societies through this period anyhow that has been the case.  My rebuttal to that article came in Unforgiven.

Which Side are You On? is a Miner’s Folk song which comes from the early years of Coal Mining in the FSofA, and in his post Surly details the Battle of Blair Mountain, in which Striking Miners were violently squashed down by the FSofA Military.  Same Military which later would squash down the Bonus Army during the Great Depression on the shores of the Potomac River around Washington.

Apache HelicopterOf course we are now set up for very much the same type of Confrontations again, and in those Mass Battles between J6P armed with Hunting Rifles and the Military armed to the TEETH with everything from LRAD to AR-15s to Apache Helicopter Gunships, getting into this sort of melee with TPTB is pretty much a LOSING PROPOSITION, on this topic Surly and I are in Full Agreement.

Now, there are numerous suggestions/ideas/philosophies discussed every day inside the Diner regarding how best to proceed given the vast Force Differential between TPTB and J6P.  Among them are Peaceful Protest and Withdrawal of Consent as Alternatives to Massed Violent Confrontation, but something of a Middle Ground does exist here in the form of the Assymetric Warfare of Anonymous. Diner  A.G. Gelbert and I recently had an exchange on this topic inside the Diner which I will include here below.

The Anon fight is quite different, it is much more an Individual fight, and these days it is not easy to remain Anon in any regard.  We discussed these difficulties in the thread.

Besides this tangent though, another very important Moral Question was broached, which is the CHOICE we all have to make in one sense or another as to which side of this Battle we will line up on, besides HOW we might fight it.  By ENLISTING in the Military rather than waiting to be Conscripted, you can have a better choice of Jobs which have higher survival percentage, and possibly lower Suicide Rates also, though that is not clear at the moment.

The choices that existed during the Vietnam Era are less possible these days.  Likelihood would be now if you managed to cross the Hoser Border to the Great White North they would Conscript you up into THEIR Division of the Big Ass Military.  Swimming the Rio Grande in a Reverse Wetbacking Escape Attempt doesn’t seem like a bright idea either, you would be Dodging Bullets in the ongoing “Drug War”, and as Peter has mentioned inside the diner, Gringos are likely to be Targets for this stuff pretty soon down there.

So the questions are many here.  HOW to negotiate this Shitstorm, HOW best to make a fight if you choose to do so, WHICH side to Line Up with in the Battle for All the Marbles?  Or perhaps you still do try to run away, RUN AWAY FAR, RUN AWAY FAST?  To WHERE do you RUN then?  If you have a Sailboat, do you point it towards Pitcairn Island and join the Inbred Descendants of Fletcher Christian and the rest of the Bounty Mutineers and improve their Genetic Diversity?  This does not seem a fabulous alternatie either, even if you can pull it off.

If you decide to hit the Streets in Massed Peaceful Protest, linking Arms and singing “We Shall Overcome”, how long do you last out there when the Tear Gas, Rubber Bullets and LRAD come out?  If you go the route of the Miners from Blair Mountain and show up with your Hunting Rifles, how long do you last when the Apache Helicopter Gunships arrive to bring Death From Above?  If you try to make the Fight Anon, how LONG can you stay Anon, and WHAT can you actually accomplish in such an Asymmetric battle?

If you decide SURVIVAL is your Imperative and you VOLUNTARILY join the Army of Darkness, HOW do you LIVE with yourself after that?

Morton’s Forks abound here, many CHOICES to be made, NONE of them very good, but perhaps some a bit better than others.

The discussion from inside the Diner looks at these questions in some detail, so let us review it here:

Online RE

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Becoming Anonymous
« Reply #24 on: Today at 03:03:17 PM »

RE”  Become Anonymous”
Impossible RE. It cannot be done anymore.
I tried to make an anonymous contribution with my pay pal account last month and it cannot be done.

Definitely know the Pay Pal problem.  When we did that BRAZOS Fundraiser for WHD, I tried to make an Anon Contribution by purchasing a Visa Gift Card for Cash at Safeway and using that to make the online contribution.  No go, Pay Pal would not take that card number.  In the end I snail mailed the card to WHD.  Not anonymous to him, but at least Da Goobermint doesn’t have a record of my donation.
Cash FRNs remain pretty much the last Anon form of Money.  If you have Gold for instance, if you sell it to a Gold dealer for some Cash, anything over I think $600 has to be individually reported to Da Goobermint.
Remaining truly Anon on the net can only be done by very accomplished Hackers using proxy servers, and they have to be at least as good as the Spooks who try to track them down.
Far as Travel goes, you can’t do Anon in a Car of course, they have to be registered.  You can still get around Anon on a Bicycle and even some of the lower end Mopeds.
Obviously Air travel can’t be done Anon, and even though I haven’t done it I am pretty sure you have to show Identification to buy an Intercity Bus Ticket nowadays.  I recently took a ride on the Alaska Railroad and you get your Ticket with your Name printed on it, not Transferrable.  However, I didn’t have to show any ID for it, we bought the tickets in bulk and just provided a Manifest to the Railroad ticket office.  Any names could have been on it.  No idea what the situation is on Amtrak down in the Lower 48.
With all the gobs of Security Cameras in stores and on City streets now wired into the Net, and Gobs of storage space along with facial recognition software, in theory at least you probably could be watched 24/7 as long as you are outside your McMansion.
Inside, the Cameras are still sorta “voluntary” on your Computer or Tablet, but these probably can be hacked into and turned on without your knowledge anytime you have the computer switched on.  Malware stored in the computer could do that even if you are not Online, then upload the recorded video whenever you sign on.  Probably advisable if there is a camera front and back on the Laptop to tape a piece of cardboard over it.
To escape all of this, really you have to drop out of the industrial economy altogether and go rewilding in remote areas.  The situation promises to get ever worse until the Grid and the Net Collapse.
There are a few things you can still do proactively.  One is to do your own Data Encryption of your emails and so forth.  256 bit data encryption is very powerful, and as long as the software is clean without back doors it can’t be broken even by Supercomputers.  You can check the software for backdoors also, at least a decent programmer can because it is not that complex, its just a mathematical algorithm based on Public and Private Keys and prime Numbers.
It would be interesting to see what would happen if I created a Forum on the Diner which was all Encrypted, and only Diners with the Keys could unencrypt it?  Likely I suppose it would get the Diner shut down in no time.
Anyhow, I do agree with you, remaining TRULY Anon with respect to Da Goobermint is about impossible nowadays.  However, you can still try to avoid becoming “Famous” like Julian Assange.  Wikileaks got too Big releasing lots of embarrassing Documents, and Julian was the Face of Wiki.  Julian hadda be taken out.  Now he is a Battle for his LIFE, he has already lost the battle for his FREEDOM.  He is already under a form of House Arrest in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London.
We Diners are small fry, a bunch of mostly Old Guys and some UE young ones who complain to each other daily about the loss of Freedom and the destruction of our Planet.  We pose no Threat to TPTB at this point, and none of us are Famous.  So we are allowed at this point to chat as we will, with probably some Spook checking us out every so often for a good laugh while checking the Site Stats.  The Black Escalades don’t show up until you get Big like Wiki and Famous like Julian.
We got a long way to go before that happens, and the Grid and Net will likely fail before we do.  Until then, Hard Harry here will WRITE HARD and…wait for it…



*Disclaimer:  Like Christian Slater I haven’t aged well and don’t look too much like that anymore.  However, here on the net or on Radio for that matter nobody can see what you look like, so you look like what the Mind’s Eye Pictures.  That’s the Picture I hold in my head when I am not looking in the Mirror to get hammerred with the real picture of the Toll life has taken on me in the Age of Oil.

Offline agelbert

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Re: Ecuador Grants Assange Asylum, Defying UK Threats
« Reply #25 on: Today at 03:22:24 PM »
RE, Back when I joined the nasty guard to avoid a bullet in Nam I was an Intelligence Operations Specialist. We mostly just prepared pilot briefings for mock bombing attacks and made mission flip charts showing where enemy radar, triple A and other hazards were. All of us had top secret clearances, of course. But the sign we had on our office door was one I will never forget and the DD might enjoy:
Air Force Intelligence The nature of our job is so secret that we do not know what we are doing
I kid you not!  :icon_mrgreen:

Online RE

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Which Side are You On?
« Reply #26 on: Today at 04:29:13 PM »

RE, Back when I joined the nasty guard to avoid a bullet in Nam I was an Intelligence Operations Specialist.

That is a remarkable Coinkidink AB.  In many prior discussions (with Ross in particular), I have mentioned that one of the better Survival Techniques in a time of Fascism is to JOIN the Fascist Army VOLUNTARILY, and among the safest positions if you are good with Numbers is to get into the Intelligence Department.  Logistics also is not too bad.
At least until the Full On War with the Chinese gets rolling and Carrier Groups start heading for Davey Jones Locker En Masse, the Navy is better than the Army.  The LAST thing you want to get stuck with is as Grunt Infantry in the Army or the Marines.
A 4 year College Degree is a great help also, you go in as an Officer right off the bat.  At least you used to, maybe not anymore though.
Of course, the problem with any of this is in the “Which Side are You On?” area.  No matter what you do or how safe your paticular job is, once in there you are fighting as a Soldier of the Illuminati.  That is a tough Moral Quandary Pill to swallow for most of us nowadays who grasp what is going on now.
Even us Old Fogeys may end up forced to make this choice.  As the Young Grunts are sent off to the Killing Fields, Retired Auto Workers will be called in to man up to the Production Line for Tanks and APCs.  Old Bloggers will be asked to Write Propaganda to help the War Effort.  Write it and you get a Paycheck from Da Goobermint.  Don’t write it, at best you Starve.  Write AGAINST it, you get a One Way Ticket to the Human Waste Reprocessing Facility in San Antonio to be reformulated into MREs for the Troops as soon as they break your Anon and Track You Down.
In the end, just about all of us are likely to have to decide Which Side We Are On and whther to try to Fight it from the Outside or Survive it from the Inside.  The Avoidance Tactic is likely to be quite difficult to undertake.

Offline agelbert

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Re: Ecuador Grants Assange Asylum, Defying UK Threats
« Reply #27 on: Today at 04:54:59 PM »
RE, If I had the same mindset I have now back then I would have run off to Canada (if my Army officer old man didn’t shoot me first!).
The other day Surly1 posted that DARPA plan to make a pack of humanoid robots. I made some gallows humor out of it but I subsequently read that suicides last month broke all the records in the US military. People just don’t want to do the empire thing at the grunt level any more. It’s getting to them so the reptiles on top are thinking of outsourcing humans to machines. As WHD said, it won’t work; robots are devilishly complex, break down easily in battle dusty situations and, last but not least, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander (see Iran and the super duper secret drone they got their dibs on). It seems the people on top fear us more every day. That fear is driving them nuts. Buying all that ammo? WTF!!?
CFS has left the building of the Gooberment.
I’ll dig up the military suicides  article if you want to read it.

There are no single solutions that will work for every person in every place.  Circumstances are different for different people, priorities differ, moral and ethical philosphies differ.  All we really can do here is to identify the CHOICES that lay before us all as this spin down proceeds, and in fact gathers speed now.  In terms of PREPARATION though, nothing is more IMPORTANT than preparing your MIND for what is to come here.  More important than #10 Cans of Mountain House Food, more important than Solar PV Cells and Batteries, more important even than Guns & Ammo.  Because if you have not considered it carefully, if you have not played it through in your head, chances are very good no matter how good your Physical Preps are, you will PANIC, and you will not Stay the Course you have thought through here

For this REASON, the Doomstead Diner is here on the Net.  Psychological PREPARATION for the Greatest CHALLENGE to face Homo Sapiens since Toba went Ballistic 75,000 years ago.  No time for DENIAL anymore.  NOW is the time to GET READY, and GET TOUGH.  Because when the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Get Going.


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"Poverty is considered a money issue rather than a ‘values’ issue, so we have no civilization w [...]

Yes, my point is that at most we can make an individual response. There isn't going to be a sys [...]

RE Economics

Going Cashless

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Simplifying the Final Countdown

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Bond Market Collapse and the Banning of Cash

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Do Central Bankers Recognize there is NO GROWTH?

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Singularity of the Dollar

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Kurrency Kollapse: To Print or Not To Print?

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Of Heat Sinks & Debt Sinks: A Thermodynamic View of Money

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Merry Doomy Christmas

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Peak Customers: The Final Liquidation Sale

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Collapse Fiction

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