Trump apparently believes mainstream news reports hinting that North Korea already possesses full nuclear capability, which it does not. He should really be more careful about all the news he consumes on CNN, which is going even crazier than usual ginning up the fear and paranoia in its viewing audience. According to the latest polls, more than half of Americans now believe that a preemptive attack on North Korea would be just fine and dandy.
Propaganda absolutely works. Never underestimate was passes for intelligence in generous chunks of the consuming population, a large sub-chunk of whom don't even know where the Korean peninsula is on the map. Even so, 72% of those questioned in a CBS poll declare themselves to be "uneasy" about the situation after watching the requisite approved programming. This programming includes breathless reporting from Hawaii, complete with nuclear warning siren soundtrack. CNN's Wolf Blitzer acted downright disappointed that officials from the American military base/possession of Guam are so sanguine in the face of North Korean threats. The island's governor seemed more interested in touting Guam's tourism industry than in ducking for cover. Come on over, the water's fine.*
If you were thinking that the press and the Democratic-Republican-Neocon alliance would be condemning outright Trump's inflammatory rhetoric, you would be thinking very wrong. The general consensus is that although The Donald indulged in verbal conduct unbecoming a president, he is nevertheless deserving of praise for bellicosity extremely becoming of the American Empire itself. Trump may be more neon-con artist than ideological neocon, but as long as he gets with the program, some of his harshest critics are suddenly letting bygones be bygones.
Relentless Trump critic Senator Lindsay Graham, for one, is suddenly mellowing out in near-ecstasy at the mere prospect of more American aggression, even if it would cause the deaths of many thousands, perhaps even millions, of people:
Graham said the president’s remarks are in line with the only reasonable approach to dealing with the Kim regime and that many of those criticizing the president have had previous opportunities to deal with North Korea and failed to do so. A North Korea armed with a nuclear missile capable of striking the U.S. is unacceptable, Graham said, because “I don’t believe our missile defense systems are that good.”What philosopher Alain Badiou once wrote about the French right-wing populist Jean-Marie Le Pen applies just as well to the bloviating overreactions to Trump's bombast:
As such, Graham said the U.S. must be prepared to strike North Korea if it obtains such a weapon, a step some believe the Kim regime has already taken, or if it attacks the U.S. or its allies.
“His rhetoric yesterday, I think, is a change that is probably necessary. Everybody who spoke before him failed,” Graham told Hewitt. “Every smart person on TV who talks about what Trump should do, when it was their turn to deal with North Korea, they failed miserably. There’s no place for him to kick the can down the road.”
"He is like the hideous spectacle of what one is oneself, but taken to its extreme, or proclaimed rather than hidden.... Do these people really like deprived immigrants, workers, sick Africans, war fraternities and enthusiastic political adventures, that is, everything that stigmatizes their electoral nightmare? There is nothing to warrant believing it. Instead, just as they have always done, moderate profiteers veil the chronic violence that shelters them from the real world, and the vast anonymous masses with proclamations of love. But when someone declares, in all its rawness, the very thing their comfort presupposes, the thing they consent to in silence, or through lies, they cry out that enough is enough, and they won't have any part of it."This is also true of the liberal outrage over Trump's admittedly cruel immigration policy. Despite his inflammatory rhetoric over "bad hombres" and the like, it was in fact the more debonair and glib Barack Obama who set a deportation record the likes of which the United States has never seen.
As reported in Politico this week, the deportation rate has slowed down under President Trump.
From Feb. 1 to June 30, ICE officials removed 84,473 people — a rate of roughly 16,900 people per month. If deportations continue at the same clip until the fiscal year ends Sept. 30, federal immigration officials will have removed fewer people than they did during even the slowest years of Barack Obama's presidency.Obama knew when and how to keep his mouth shut about his real agenda and accomplishments (deportations, bombings, arms sales to despots, drone assassinations, corporate giveaways, sweetheart deals with Wall Street criminals) while still talking a good humanitarian game. Trump keeps braying out the inhumanity which has been the de facto policy of the United States all along. It makes the important people feel very uncomfortable, at least until the desired result - war, war, and more war - is achieved to everyone's comfort and complicit satisfaction.
In fiscal year 2016, ICE removed 240,255 people from the country, a rate of more than 20,000 people per month.
In fiscal year 2012 — the peak year for deportations under Obama — the agency removed an average of roughly 34,000 people per month.
In other news, (H/T annenigma) the New York Times was forced to issue a correction to its blockbuster front page scoop that Trump might try to block the release of a scary "new" report on climate change. It turns out that the report in question has been available online for the past eight months. As I wrote the other day, the newspaper weirdly slanted the story around pure speculation into the president's thought-processes. The report itself was just a hook all along, with its actual content achieving only secondary importance. Now we know why. It's not the climate change that they really care about - it's keeping the anti-Trump media hysteria alive. Facts not fitting the prescribed Narrative be damned.
The Times recently got rid of its entire copy-editing desk, which used to go over every story with a fine-tooth comb before publication, looking for errors in both fact and grammar. Oops.
*Update, 8/12: In a phone call with Guam's governor on Friday, Trump also touted the island's tourism industry, much to the pseudo-shock of CNN and the professional indignados of the media-political complex. What, they never heard of disaster capitalism before?