#NotNormal. If Your Hair is on Fire, Good, you Have Grasped the Situation

November 17, 2016


I miss the old days when we thought Exxon and the Koch Brothers were all we had to contend with.

Normally I would not post something from the Daily Mail as worth a read, but the writer here is former Moscow Bureau Chief for The Economist, and his analysis, while terrifying, is sound.

Edward Lucas in The Daily Mail:

The restoration of the Soviet empire is under way — and America is not going to stop it.

That is the chilling conclusion we must draw from Donald Trump’s first few days as President-elect, in which he received what he termed a ‘beautiful’ letter from Vladimir Putin, followed by an amicable phone call in which the two pledged to restore friendly relations between Washington and Moscow.

Then, yesterday, Syria’s President Assad said that Mr Trump would be a ‘natural ally’ alongside Russia in the bloodsoaked Syrian civil war if he fulfils his pledge to fight terrorism.

Assad and Putin are, of course, at the forefront of the aerial bombardment that began on Tuesday against rebel-held areas of the city of Aleppo after several weeks of relative calm.

That is why I believe it’s no exaggeration to say Putin, not Trump, is the biggest winner of the American presidential election.

The irony is that at home, President Trump will be constrained by his inexperience, and by America’s solid political institutions.

The real damage will be done abroad — to us and to others who depend on strong defence and intelligence ties with America. Intelligence experts fear Putin will offer President Trump a ‘Grand Bargain’ some time in 2017.

The outline would be simple. The West drops sanctions, stops pestering the Putin regime about its appalling human rights record, accepts that the Kremlin has a sphere of military and political influence in Eastern Europe, and treats Russia as a serious global player.

In return, Putin would offer counter-terrorism co-operation against the constant threat of Islamist attacks around the world, a brokered peace in Syria (meaning an end to the floods of refugees to Europe), and an easing of military tensions around Russia’s western borders.

He would promise — no doubt oozing sincerity — a future of peace and friendship. The deal-loving tycoon, still settling into the Oval Office, would jump at this ‘Grand Bargain’, regarding it as a piece of international statesmanship.

He would boast about saving billions of dollars by being able to pull American troops out of Europe.

In truth, this deal would be as shameful as the Yalta summit of 1945 at which Stalin outmanoeuvred Britain and America, consigning Eastern Europe to misery and captivity within the Soviet Empire.

US media furiously normalizing a Neo-Nazi champion in the White House.

Raw Story:

NPR apparently felt the need to invite on a Breitbart mouthpiece to put in a good word for Steve Bannon, Donald Trump’s newly announced senior policy adviser. Bannon previously led Breitbart, a publication beloved by the so-called alt-right, a loose coalition of white nationalists, “identitarians,” neo-Nazis, anti-Semites, racists, and misogynists who were ecstatic over Bannon’s appointment. Pollak’s segment was a master class in obfuscation and a primer on how to flip the script and turn totally justified accusations of bigotry, misogyny and anti-Semitism into “reverse racism.”

“Let’s hear a defense of Steve Bannon,” NPR host Steve Inskeep began, offering a view of exactly what direction this interview would take. Pollak started by launching into a gushing assessment of Bannon, calling him “a national hero,” and talking about how it’s so great we’ll have someone “so calm under pressure in the White House.” (Maybe this is true, though it contradicts accusations against Bannon of domestic abusesexual harassment and being a “verbally abus[ive]” “bully” “who is prone to a lot of tirades” by former staffers.) When Inskeep interjected to ask about Bannon’s tireless work to turn Breitbart into the alt-right outlet of choice, Pollak attempted to distance the site from the movement it has nurtured on a steady diet of xenophobia, racism, sexism and anti-Semitism.


“The only alt-right content we have is a single article out of tens of thousands of articles, which is a journalistic article about the alt-right by Milo Yiannopoulos, and Allum Bokhari, which basically went into this movement, and tried to figure out what it was all about,” Pollak said. “That’s not racist; that’s journalism.”

And just like that, Bannon’s site was suddenly unaffiliated with the alt-right movement—though Bannon himself boasted in August that Breitbart is the “platform of the alt-right.” Inskeep didn’t push Pollak on this point, though Bannon’s own words suggest that he either disagreed with his spokesperson or fabricated the link in order to be seen as the voice of the alt-right. Either way, aren’t both of these things problematic—tthat Bannon is either with the racists or wants to be? Isn’t it worth questioning why Bannon would seek to tie his publication to a movement whose founders have been unequivocal in their racism and anti-Semitism? (Prominent white supremacist Jared Taylor has said that while there are “areas of disagreement” among alt-righties, “the central element of the alt-right is the position it takes on race.” Richard Spencer, who coined the term alt-right, has talked about the “Jewish question,” called for forced sterilization of racial minorities and advanced the idea of “peaceful ethnic cleansing.”


17 Responses to “#NotNormal. If Your Hair is on Fire, Good, you Have Grasped the Situation”

  1. otter17 Says:

    Hmmm, I miss the good old days. The USA wasn’t perfect, but aligning with Putin and Assad is just beyond the pale.

    • Tom Bates Says:

      Aligning with Putin and Assad is bad? How is aligning with people who want us dead and our girls for sex slaves good? It may be good for the zionists who run Israel as they want a weak Iraq, a weak Syria but how is that good for us? Both Putin and Assad are elected leaders, you can argue about how they got elected but they were elected. Apparently you want to replace both with some thug you elect.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        I’m guessing we can add anti-semite to Master Bates’ CV. I’ve never met anyone who uses the word “Zionist” outside of its historical context who wasn’t one.

        Defending Breitbart merely adds gravy.

      • otter17 Says:

        “Aligning with Putin and Assad is bad?”


        “How is aligning with people who want us dead and our girls for sex slaves good?”

        It isn’t. The USA hasn’t been perfect.

        “It may be good for the zionists who run Israel as they want a weak Iraq, a weak Syria but how is that good for us?”

        Zionists? What is good for us ought to be a moot point, particularly as the USA should have been making every R&D effort possible to figure out the best way to migrate away from foreign resources over the years. Other than helping to broker peace or end a conflict, we ideally ought to have no particular interest in the area.

        “Both Putin and Assad are elected leaders, you can argue about how they got elected but they were elected.”

        Yes, “elected leaders”. I’m glad Donald Trump supporters in the USA know what “free and fair elections” look like. You are just a laughable person. Who knew climate denial might also correlate with authoritarian tendencies.

        “Apparently you want to replace both with some thug you elect.”

        No, but journalists and protesters within each and every nation run by such autocrats ought to rise up and hold a real election for themselves.

  2. Tom Bates Says:

    What is your point. Breitbart is simply doing the same thing you are by using an over the top headline to get people to read his blog. The 4 billion estimate may in fact be true as actual climate change is driven by changes in earths tilt and orbit.

  3. SmarterThanYourAverageBear Says:

    “US media furiously normalizing a Neo-Nazi champion in the White House.”

    About the same as the German press did once Hitler came to power.

  4. “I miss the old days when we thought Exxon and the Koch Brothers were all we had to contend with.”

    I never even dreamed that in America, the self-styled/self-called ‘patriots’* would be taken seriously enough by a majority to bring us to the edge. 😢

    *not to mention that their behavior has long been anything but patriotic.

  5. Hearing echos of McCarthyism… the left did this to themselves… funny I am not hearing anything about what the DNC did to Bernie… hmmm maybe if it was Bernie versus Trump things would have been different.

    Clinton was UNELECTABLE for the get go…

    • toby52 Says:

      Bernie lost the nomination fair and square because he could not get the support among minorities, especially in the South, that Clinton commanded. He himself recognised that, and “Bernie was shafted” was just another lying Trump meme to undermine Clinton. It probably did not decide the election, though.

      Clinton could have won, without Comey and his letters she probbaly would have. One analysis suggests late-deciders determined the outcome of the election, making up their minds exactly during the week the media were wall-to-wall with “private server” stories over a set of e-mails that turned out to be totally innocuous.


      • Gingerbaker Says:

        Lost fair and square? That’s delusional!

        The DNC admitted it torpedoed him. The press gave him almost exclusively rotten articles. krugman wrote that his proposals were possible while ignoring their successes in Europe. The Wah Post ran 16 straight negative articles on him.

        The Dem primary was riddled with electronic fraud – odds of it being “fair and square” were 1 in 77 billion, based on huge exit poll discrepancies – which were NONEXISTENT in all Republican primaries.

        Fair and square my scrawny ass!

  6. Sir Charles Says:

    Russia’s economy is heavily depending on fossil fuel exports. Their climate commitments are inadequate at best. Putin’s trolls have surely helped to put that climate change denier on the U.S. American forefront. I was spotting one of them spooking in several Irish forums, spamming them with “Steven Goddard” and Wattsupblahblah. With Trump winning the Electoral College the individual disappeared again. Probably busy now telling the Hungarians that Syrian war refugees are eating babies. Who knows…

  7. Sir Charles Says:

    All what’s left now is persuading members of the Electoral College to abstain from their vote. Trump didn’t get the popular vote. This time by a significant margin.

    Also => Sign the petition: End the Electoral College

  8. Sir Charles Says:

    Millions Sign Onto Call for Electoral College to Award the Presidency to Popular Vote Winner Clinton

  9. toby52 Says:

    Waste of time on the Electoral College.

    Work to make Trump a one-term President, even one of shorter duration. He lacks a majority mandate, is the most unpopular President ever at the start of his term, and only won swing states by narrow margins, with the help of the FBI Director. He is vulnerable.

    Trump has had a good run, but at each triumph the arrogance and hubris only grows. He will trip up eventually, his type always do. The fear is what he will take with him.

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