Government by Fear and Paranoia


Dark and terrible men do dark and terrible things. 

It’s hard to overstate the extraordinary weekend we just had, and difficult to estimate what it means for our democracy. Over the weekend, thanks to the resurgent Washington Postwe learned that:

  1. US intelligence agencies concluded what we already knew, that Russia waged a campaign of extreme intervention in our election, in order to subvert Hillary Clinton, undermine our democracy, continue their push to break the liberal democratic underpinnings of the West, and, with a few breaks, get their candidate elected. In a way, that’s the least of it: what do you expect from Russia? (And, indeed, great powers, including the US, always meddle) It is disconcerting, but not shocking.
  2. The US government knew about Russian interference, and the White House wanted to make the information public. They gathered top Dems and Republicans, because, if there is one thing we should agree on, it’s that Russia shouldn’t determine the President. The White House didn’t want to make this public unilaterally, under the assumption that if they did, it would be seen as partisan, and call the election into even more question, and so instead of helping Hillary (who at the time was assumed to win), they decided to act for the good of the country. Simps.
  3. Mitch McConnell was having none of that. Having already nullified President Obama’s elected prerogative to nominate a Supreme Court justice, he decided to take his boundless striving cynicism to this election. “According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.”
  4. That’s right: an attempt to reveal in a bipartisan manner that a foreign power was interfering with the election would be partisan. You have to understand the mental contortions it takes to believe this lie. It would only be partisan if it would hurt one candidate, and it would only hurt one candidate if that foreign power was acting on his behalf. So if the power was acting on his behalf, and to reveal it would hurt the campaign, then the information must be suppressed. Of course, it was tempered by his saying he “doesn’t believe the intelligence”, doubt that is based on: nothing.
  5. Obama went along with it and bit their tongues. Again, because it was assumed that Hillary would win, and to have the White House interfere on a policy level in the election was thought to be worse. Hillary is probably not thrilled with the decision, although, since she is also a grownup, probably gets it.
  6. Donald Trump also doesn’t believe the evidence, and released an extraordinary statement that blasted the intelligence services, and essentially accuses them of making it up. “I think it’s ridiculous. I think it’s just another excuse,” Trump told Fox. “I don’t believe it.”
  7. Belief! Because evidence doesn’t matter. Nothing matters, because he is unable to contemplate anything outside his own diseased ego. He doesn’t sit in on security briefings, he told Fox, because “”You know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years.” This is also not incidental.
  8. So Mitch and Trump don’t believe the CIA reports. Let’s let John Bolton, as he often does, take it to the next level. “It’s not at all clear to me just viewing this from the outside that this hacking into the DNC and the RNC computers was not a false flag operation,” Bolton said. “The question that has to be asked is, why did the Russians run their smart intelligence service against Hillary’s server but their dumb intelligence services against the election?”

I don’t actually know what the last part means. But listen: the next possible Deputy Secretary of State is speaking in the language of Alex Jones and feverish web conspirators. The President is uninterested in the world unless “something changes”, which means, something big enough to garner his flickerish attention. The only thing he can be concerned with is something that might make him think for a moment that he isn’t President by universal acclimation. And the people around him, who do have plans, know exactly how to play that.

So what do you do when you don’t like intelligence services playing with your constructed reality? You call them into question. You accuse them of making up things to help one party, who is then therefore complicit (because who would order that false flag? Comrade Obamaski, that’s who). They are untrustworthy, and trying to bring down the duly elected and wholly beloved President Trump.

And then when there is a terrorist attack? Fifth column inside the CIA. Muslim infiltrators. Willing to blow up a mall in Akron in order to diminish the Presidency. They must be purged, and more power has to be folded into the White House.

These are dark thoughts, and they sound ridiculous–the mirror of Alex Jones, weirdly–but I am not alleging conspiracies. These are dark and terrible and paranoid men who will use conspiracy language to aid their quest for total power of the majority of citizens, who didn’t and don’t want this. And they are aided wholly by Mitch McConnell, the most cravenly cynical politician of my lifetime.

So yes, this might sound ridiculous. But look at what happened over the weekend. We’re in untested waters. It only makes sense to try to see the monsters swimming just below.

One thought on “Government by Fear and Paranoia

  1. Pingback: The Presidency Doesn’t Mean Anything Anymore | Shooting Irrelevance

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