“See you now your bait of falsehood take this carp of truth; and thus do we of wisdom and of reach, with windlasses and with assays of bias, by indirections find directions out.”
— Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 1
Following the publication of an anonymous Op-Ed in The New York Times, speculation has naturally run towards identifying the author(s).
Taking note of the use of the word, “loadstar” the commentariat has speculated that Vice President Mike Pence is the author.
Other, slightly more astute observers have pointed out, that it is a fairly standard tactic to use a recognizable linguistic tic of another individual in order to divert attention and rampant speculation away from the true author.
It is unlikely for several reasons that Pence is the author. Lacking a sense of political nerve, and weighed down by a profound sense of mediocrity counterbalanced by a firm belief in being one of God’s foot soldiers, Pence is too much the man who follows orders to be a Bonaparte staging a Brumaire, or even to unknowingly be a Brutus among the togas and political daggers.
Anything is possible and if it turns out to be Pence we will eat our keyboard but what seems far more likely is a combination of the members of the junta – the departed McMaster, and the currently still serving Chief of Staff Kelly, and Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, with assistance from the National Security Council and members of the intelligence agencies – NSA, DIA, CIA, etc.
And make no mistake, Trump’s threats against former DCIA John Brennan are not the sort of thing to go unchallenged. The goons at Langley have a long and well established record of returning fire when threatened, and the idea that they are all knights of the round table committed to following the rules and staying out of the mess of politics is of course, bullshit.
But while of significance what is more important, is the timing – coinciding with the Kavanaugh theater piece, and the release of Bob Woodward’s book – suggesting a coordinated plan to create a set of dilemmas for the political branches of the imperial bureaucracy, and to push Trump over the edge into committing some precipitous action that by its blatant insanity forces the hand of the establishment.
Trump’s support on Capitol Hill is down to three issue. Inertia or sloth, a vast cadre of gerrymandered ideologically driven trolls, and a core group of aristocratic reactionaries centered on Mitch McConnell, Orin Hatch and Chuck Grassley*.
Those three Senators are devoted to Trump as their sword – the instrument by which they aim to stack the Supreme Court with reactionary neo-fascists who by longevity will ensure an anti-New Deal reality for decades.
They are racing the political clock. They must get Kavanaugh on the bench before the midterms which they assume will result in a debacle for the republicans and usher in not just democratic control of the House, but a tidal wave of investigations and hearings focusing on the criminality and stupidity of the Trump regime.
As soon as the election is over, Trump will have served his purpose and McConnell & Co. will suddenly (re)discover the rule of law and accommodate House demands for hearings and investigations. Knowing that they and Trump will be protected by the corrupt court, they will have little problem and less reason to defend their Caligula.
Thus, the plan, as such is to jettison Trump and replace him with Pence and secure the destruction of the last 75 years of liberal legislative reform by gutting just about everything, while banking on their ability to retain control of the Senate and prevent any future democratic president from stacking the court in retaliation.
That it is an ideological Götterdämmerung, and thus a toxin injected into the political and cultural DNA of the nation is meaningless to them, because burning down the village to save it is their faith. Except in this scenario substitute Constitution for village.
And so to the loadstar.
It is a kind of insurance policy. We – the resistance – were busy about the business of keeping the country and planet safe from the whims of a deranged monster while you were fiddling amid the flames.
And, it is designed like a sabot thrust into the gears, to create tension and demand resolution.
The Op-Ed creates chaos. The chaos already exists but making it public is a way of upping the political ante and forcing a response.
If the aristocratic reactionaries do nothing, they forfeit the initiative to their opponents. If they act they declare war on Trump – and themselves by jeopardizing their plan to turn the court into a political weapon of the reactionaries.
By also drawing attention to their support for key elements of the regime’s agenda – tax cuts, gutting necessary regulations, and increased military spending – they are cementing their resumes as genuine conservatives and announcing their political allegiance. In exchange they must expect support both in the short term effort to remove Trump and in the long term should there be hearings, investigations or even charges brought for some form of treason.
What then comes into focus is that loadstar is a coup.
Its purpose is to force action, cover assorted asses, and get on with the business of restoring what passes for the normal habits of the corrupt imperial bureaucracy.
But, a we have said previously, Trump, for all his toxic reality, is a symptom of a system coughing up blood from it infected organs, in a spasm of political hemorrhagic fever.
The republic, already on life support, is dead.
America is a corporate dictatorship run by a combination of Wall Street psychopaths, Quislings, and aristocrats who all trade places with each other, and uses the military and the intelligence agencies and the media to wage political warfare while the rest of the country moves ever closer to the abyss, and the blunt truth of a dystopian economic gulag, and social thunder dome.
While the royals at Elsinore schemed, and murdered each other, the rest of the world closed in for the kill. We don’t mean in this case a foreign power (despite the reality of Russian cyber warfare) but mean instead the sense that history has its own cunning, and while the gang of half wits and pirates fight over the carcass of the constitution, the nation passes into a terminal phase.
There’s another hurricane closing in on the Gulf Coast. Heck of a job Brownie wasn’t just a sign of how out of touch the Bush Cheney junta was, it was also a symptom of the chasm that has opened between reality and the politically senile ruling class – both in its liberal and conservative iterations.
A second Midnight of the Century looms, in which both wings of what Gore Vidal correctly identified as the single party of Wall Street (with a republican and a democratic wing) presides over a circular firing squad and a catastrophe.
Elizabethan tragedies were always known to be at an end, when the stage was littered with corpses.
Trump Agonistes sits on the throne. The lights dim.
The curtain begins to slide across the stage.
Note: Though it may seem as if it were a year ago, it was in fact just a matter of weeks when Chief of Staff Kelly was revealed to have been recorded by intelligence collecting genius Omarosa, in The White House Situation Room. Aside from the security prat fall what stood out and received almost no media attention was Kelly saying that no one in The White House works for Trump, they work for Kelly.
In light of loadstar, we suggest revisiting that event:
*The three senators listed should not be considered a definitive group but with the exception of McConnell, they are ad hoc and come and go as needed. What binds them is the decades long aristocratic reactionary antagonism to the New Deal – their rural, racist, anti-modern contempt for the idea that the government is essential for maintaining a modicum of social stability through various programs. The mile wide inch deep media would have you believe that there is no cultural and political DNA to these reactionaries when the truth is they are the inheritors of the reactionary politics of the 1930s which was itself the grandchild of the Confederacy. Of course anyone who has ever braved the rapids of a Faulkner novel would recognize these people for who and what they are but in the contemporary Platonic ideal city state, the artists have been exiled and replaced by haircuts masquerading as journalists.