The problem with the debate about Donald Trump is that there isn’t one. Donald Trump is BAD…and if you question that narrative, or a specific element of it…so are YOU. That’s the message, explicit and implicit, in the articles and comment threads of the majority of the mainstream media…including the so-called ‘quality’ papers like the NYT, the WaPo and the FT.
How about the social media? Personally I don’t use Facebook because I’m far too much of an old grump…I’d rather eat my own toenails than take a ‘selfie’, and to be honest I don’t care what you had for breakfast. But a dear friend of mine who I’ve respected for decades told me that she is thinking of leaving Facebook, because of the constant flood of bile and 'virtue signalling' that is prevalent there.
It seems that if you want to question the ‘agreement’, if you want to discuss the bigger picture or wider ramifications…then you are a fascist, a racist, a sexist, a blah blah blah…perm any three splenetic identity labels from a dozen or so… Meanwhile:
1. Bullshit gets a free pass…and
2. Some very sinister stuff can unfold right underneath everyone's nose
We are awash with this stuff. Here are a couple of recent examples:
1. Bullshit gets a free pass:
Consider this little beaut, reported on Quartz Media:
“Chinese students are joining their peers on American campuses in getting woke. Their cause? Defending the official line of the Communist Party.
On Feb. 2, the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) formally announced that the Dalai Lama would make a keynote speech at the June commencement ceremony.
The announcement triggered outrage among Chinese students who view the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader as an oppressive figure threatening to divide a unified China. A group of them now plans to meet with the university chancellor to discuss the content of the upcoming speech…
Just hours after the announcement, the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA) issued a lengthy, Chinese-language note on WeChat saying it had communicated with the Chinese consulate about the matter:
‘UCSD is a place for students to cultivate their minds and enrich their knowledge. Currently, the various actions undertaken by the university have contravened the spirit of respect, tolerance, equality, and earnestness—the ethos upon which the university is built. These actions have also dampened the academic enthusiasm of Chinese students and scholars. If the university insists on acting unilaterally and inviting the Dalai Lama to give a speech at the graduation ceremony, our association vows to take further measures to firmly resist the university’s unreasonable behavior. Specific details of these measures will be outlined in our future statements’”
There you are folks – the Dalai Lama is an oppressive figure trying to divide a unified China. Who knew? Of course, this would make great satire, or even farce…just a more sophisticated version of this:
Judge: Tell me constable, what happened when you apprehended the suspect?
Constable: Well your Honour, I invited him to take a seat in the back of my van and he viciously attacked my knee with his face and his testicles
2. The sinister stuff unfolding right underneath our noses:
For this I turn to Glen Greenwald, the journalist who published Edward Snowden, CIA whistleblower. No lover of Donald Trump, and a guy with a very good idea of the workings of the ‘deep state’ in general and the CIA in particular:
I recommend that you read the whole article and watch the clip. However, this is some of what he had to say:
“The deep state, although there’s no precise or scientific definition, generally refers to the agencies in Washington that are permanent power factions. They stay and exercise power even as presidents who are elected come and go. They typically exercise their power in secret, in the dark, and so they’re barely subject to democratic accountability, if they’re subject to it at all. It’s agencies like the CIA, the NSA and the other intelligence agencies, that are essentially designed to disseminate disinformation and deceit and propaganda, and have a long history of doing not only that, but also have a long history of the world’s worst war crimes, atrocities and death squads. This is who not just people like Bill Kristol, but lots of Democrats are placing their faith in, are trying to empower, are cheering for as they exert power separate and apart from—in fact, in opposition to—the political officials to whom they’re supposed to be subordinate.
And you go—this is not just about Russia. You go all the way back to the campaign, and what you saw was that leading members of the intelligence community, including Mike Morell, who was the acting CIA chief under President Obama, and Michael Hayden, who ran both the CIA and the NSA under George W. Bush, were very outspoken supporters of Hillary Clinton. In fact, Michael Morell went to The New York Times, and Michael Hayden went to The Washington Post, during the campaign to praise Hillary Clinton and to say that Donald Trump had become a recruit of Russia. The CIA and the intelligence community were vehemently in support of Clinton and vehemently opposed to Trump, from the beginning. And the reason was, was because they liked Hillary Clinton’s policies better than they liked Donald Trump’s. One of the main priorities of the CIA for the last five years has been a proxy war in Syria, designed to achieve regime change with the Assad regime. Hillary Clinton was not only for that, she was critical of Obama for not allowing it to go further, and wanted to impose a no-fly zone in Syria and confront the Russians. Donald Trump took exactly the opposite view. He said we shouldn’t care who rules Syria; we should allow the Russians, and even help the Russians, kill ISIS and al-Qaeda and other people in Syria. So, Trump’s agenda that he ran on was completely antithetical to what the CIA wanted. Clinton’s was exactly what the CIA wanted, and so they were behind her. And so, they’ve been trying to undermine Trump for many months throughout the election. And now that he won, they are not just undermining him with leaks, but actively subverting him. There’s claims that they’re withholding information from him, on the grounds that they don’t think he should have it and can be trusted with it. They are empowering themselves to enact policy.
Now, I happen to think that the Trump presidency is extremely dangerous. You just listed off in your news—in your newscast that led the show, many reasons. They want to dismantle the environment. They want to eliminate the safety net. They want to empower billionaires. They want to enact bigoted policies against Muslims and immigrants and so many others. And it is important to resist them. And there are lots of really great ways to resist them, such as getting courts to restrain them, citizen activism and, most important of all, having the Democratic Party engage in self-critique to ask itself how it can be a more effective political force in the United States after it has collapsed on all levels. That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, the CIA, with its histories of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup, where they take the elected president and prevent him from enacting his policies. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that. Even if you’re somebody who believes that both the CIA and the deep state, on the one hand, and the Trump presidency, on the other, are extremely dangerous, as I do, there’s a huge difference between the two, which is that Trump was democratically elected and is subject to democratic controls, as these courts just demonstrated and as the media is showing, as citizens are proving. But on the other hand, the CIA was elected by nobody. They’re barely subject to democratic controls at all. And so, to urge that the CIA and the intelligence community empower itself to undermine the elected branches of government is insanity. That is a prescription for destroying democracy overnight in the name of saving it. And yet that’s what so many, not just neocons, but the neocons’ allies in the Democratic Party, are now urging and cheering. And it’s incredibly warped and dangerous to watch them do that” - Glen Greenwald
So...why have I entitled this piece ‘Meet the new ‘liberal’ – like the old one minus the liberty bit’? Using the royal ‘you’:
If you think that the slaughter which Hillary Clinton unleashed in Libya and championed in Syria was 'liberal' or ‘democratic’ slaughter…if you believe, or are prepared to pander to people who believe, that the Dalai Lama is ‘oppressive and offensive’…if it has taken the election of Donald Trump to trigger your sense of injustice…then you really haven’t been paying attention.
If you don’t understand that unelected members of the ‘deep state’ in Washington and Langley are lapping up the fact that there is blanket 'approval' for every move against Trump...because this 'approval' provides cover for covert attempts to de-legitimise an elected president…then you are being played like a violin. If you haven’t noticed that this is the one aspect of the story that the establishment media is disinterested in…again, you are not paying attention.
And finally…if attacking free speech in the name of ‘tolerance’ escapes your sense of irony, then you don’t need a safe space…you need a dictionary.