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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Donald Trump and Alex Jones

Wish I could embed this Trumpcast interview (which I somehow managed to miss until just a few hours ago), but I can't. So please hit the link. It's a must-hear interview with the always-delightful Jon Ronson, who gives hitherto-undisclosed details of the Alex Jones/Donald Trump relationship. Ronson also offers a chilling mini-portrayal of Roger Stone, who comes across as a kind of Bond villain.

The foundational question here is: Do these men actually believe in the conspiracy theories they push? Trump, I think, is at least a half-believer. I know from experience that conspiranoia is the only type of political discourse sensational enough to capture the attention of someone who suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder.

As for AJ: I think that sincerity and hucksterism do a complex dance in his case. Like most of the lower conspiracy researchers, he rarely does actual research. That is to say: I can't imagine Alex Jones calling up John Newman for help understanding the routing information on a newly-released CIA document from 1959 concerning Oswald's stay in the USSR. AJ isn't exactly the kind of guy who gets into abstruse arguments over the context of footnote 198 on page 457. His idea of scholarship is to call Julian Assange a "Hillary Clinton butt plug" because Assange didn't say what Jones wanted him to say.

Stone, in my opinion, is a stone-cold opportunist. Pilate's question holds no interest for him. He cares only about that which furthers his concept of politics:
I practice the politics of polarization -- a politics that is brutal, psychological and effective. It is the politics of division, galvanizing those who bear a grudge against the establishment, rallying the resentful, the jealous, and the angry against the elites.
That is pretty much Donald Trump's whole act, isn't it?

Understand that Stone is no true populist. Throughout his career, he has mustered anti-elite sentiment in order to further the cause of any member of the elite willing meet his fee.
Trump's response to the latest sexual abuse allegations made in the New York Times, issued by his communications adviser Jason Miller, is pure squirm:

"This entire article is fiction, and for the New York Times to launch a completely false, coordinated character assassination against Mr Trump on a topic like this is dangerous."

What a weak second clause!

"To reach back decades in an attempt to smear Mr Trump trvializes sexual assault, and it sets a new low for where the media is willing to go in its efforts to determine this election."

Whatever it does, it doesn't trivialise sexual assault! If Trump had any sense, and didn't himself want to characterise sexual assault as trivial, he should accept that a man who is guilty of such actions is not fit to be president.

He should say something like

"These very serious allegations are wholly false. I have never sexually assaulted anyone. There are many understandable reasons why victims of sexual assault may prefer not to bring allegations at the time, and there are many good reasons why they may decide to pursue the matter several years after the event. Any woman who is in this position should contact one of the many excellent support organisations, the police, or both. That applies regardless of the standing of the alleged abuser. I myself have nothing to fear, because I know that I have not committed these or any similar offences."

But no. He hasn't got the sense to say that. Instead, he says

"It is absurd to think that one of the most recognizable business leaders on the planet with a strong record of empowering women in his companies would do the things alleged in this story, and for this to only become public decades later in the final month of a campaign for president should say it all."

It is not absurd at all to believe that a highly recognisable businessman who employs women in senior positions may also have a long record of groping women. It is idiotic to say so. Trump loves himself and he is a rich bastard who runs a business. That doesn't mean he keeps his hands to himself.

"Further, The Times story buries the pro-Clinton financial and social media activity on behalf of Hillary Clinton's candidacy, reinforcing that this is truly nothing more than a political attack. This is a sad day for the Times."

That seems to have got garbled. Why would they want to bury pro-Clinton activity? Doesn't Trump pay someone to read through his press releases before they get sent out?

I'm waiting for the how the Times reports the next stage in the story about the Trump Foundation's activities in the state of New York.

Trump may soon withdraw.
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