Americans, Meet Your Authoritarian, Evangelical, Islamophobic, Misogynistic, Trump-loving, Apocalypse-yearning Secretary of State
A year ago I published an ideological analysis of Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director newly elevated to Secretary of State by Trump. Replacing Tillerson, also a disastrous Trump pick for the post, who gutted the agency and left it grossly understaffed with a skeleton crew and no one answering the phones during the greatest foreign policy emergencies since the Cold War, Pompeo promises to make his decisions based on his slavish obeisance to the ignoramus in the Oval Office, in keeping with his alliance with Putin as a faux-Orthodox Christian, in lock-step with the deluded Evangelical march toward the Apocalyptic denouement promised true believers in the Bible.
‘Pompeo is a deeply conservative evangelical Christian who has said, “America had worshipped other Gods and called it multiculturalism. We’d endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.” He believes politics is “a never-ending struggle . . . until the rapture.” He does not sound like the type of person one normally associates with the intelligence community. But this is Trump’s administration, and Trump has promised to shake things up. An apocalyptic Islamophobic fanatic at the head of CIA will no doubt bring change to the agency.’ (Heather Digby Parton, ‘Meet Mike Pompeo, the far-right Christian zealot with Islamophobe ties who will lead Trump’s CIA: Rep. Mike Pompeo is a Rapture-believing evangelical who sees “radical Islam” at work in small-town America,’ Salon, Jan. 13, 2017.)
Really? Yes. The Mercer/Koch/DeVos billionaire government coup has stuck these raving lunatics everywhere — into every nook and cranny. People keep looking to these operatives to instil order and sanity, but that’s like entrusting the chickens to the foxes. Even Kelly is a Fundamentalist Right-Wing Catholic, like Conway and Bannon, and no help with anything remotely sane will be forthcoming from their ranks. This is why Pompeo has consistently played down (ersatz) Orthodox Christian Putin’s interference in the election, and his attempts upon the Democratic process. The Religious Right love Putin, on this basis. (Daniel Steinmetz-Jenkins and Brittany Pheiffer Noble, ‘Steve Bannon’s Would-Be Coalition of Christian Traditionalists: From American evangelicals to Russian Orthodox, they’re united against Islam. Is that enough to overcome all that divides them?,’ The Atlantic, March 23, 2017; Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, ‘Guns and religion: How American conservatives grew closer to Putin’s Russia,’ The Washington Post, April 30.)
That’s why the Evangelical Far-Right doesn’t care about any of the Russian allegations. They have bigger fish to fry, they think, like fighting and killing Muslims, awaiting the Rapture, and looking forward to Holy War and Armageddon, which they believe is imminent. They believe they, and the American Religious Alt-Right, are serving a ‘higher agenda’ — that being God’s cause against Muslims, religious infidels, and ideological ‘Others.’ Not realizing that Islam actually IS a Judeo-Christian religion, by definition, they are happy to think of themselves and their president as working with Orthodox Russia and ‘devout’ Putin to bring about the Apocalypse so as to realize ‘God’s Kingdom on Earth’ in its aftermath, as prophesied in The Revelations of John.
Many of the other top posts necessary for running an effective, U.S. government, representative/democratic infrastructure remain unfilled. The Trump/Bannon-appointed, climate-denying, ultra conservative, Evangelical Religious Right, nearly uniformly Republican heads of administrative agencies have, to a man and to a woman, for many vocal years espoused personal and political philosophies that are diametrically opposed to the offices they hold and the agencies they head, in a transparent attempt to destroy those very agencies and offices. The EPA, Education, Public Health, Public Housing, and pretty much all of the other critically important offices and agencies have been decimated by the appointments of incompetents, ill- or non-qualified executives, or individuals hostile to those agencies’ mission statements. The only real silver lining in all of this is the fact that Trump appointees and picks are so ill-equipped for their posts that they actually can’t actualize many of their most malignant and destructive initiatives; the ‘Muslim Ban’ has been repeatedly blocked or disallowed as un-Constitutional by courts at the city, state and federal levels, and neither the ‘Trump Care’ nor the 2018 Budget drafts boast even the most rudimentary qualifications to enable them to pass as actual legislation.
‘In each of these cases, Mr. Bannon’s preferred outcome was thwarted by rather ordinary political forces, the same ones he promised to circumvent and transcend. In a way, to believe in Mr. Bannon’s genius is to adopt the president’s belief in a sort of vulgar technocracy — the belief that the “best people” can solve any problem put in front of them, whether they have expertise in that field or not. A newspaper publisher can broker peace in the Middle East and revolutionize the government. A neurosurgeon can run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A life as a real estate mogul and celebrity businessman is adequate preparation for the presidency. But the ability to grab power does not grant the wisdom to wield it, and ungrounded grandiosity is just pretension.’ (Ezekiel Kwekua, ‘Steve Bannon Isn’t a Genius.’ New York Times, April 6, 2017.)
Joshua Green, author of “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency,” explained how mega-donors Robert and Rebekah Mercer, in aid of establishing what they and Bannon refer to as ‘Judeo-Christian values’ for all of America, were crucial to Trump’s rise to the White House in an interview with Business Insider. Following is a transcript of the video. (Noah Friedman, Josh Barro and Lamar Salter, ‘How two ‘Alt-Koch’ mega-donors helped Trump become President, Business Insider, Jul. 26, 2017.)
Everybody knows about the Koch brothers and their effect on Republican politics. The Mercers are a different strain, I think of them as being kind of the “alt-Kochs.” They have very strange and sometimes bizarre conservative beliefs. Initially, they were Koch donors, but they became frustrated with the fact that Republicans didn’t win anything in 2012.
And so they went off on their own and they are very important to Trump and to Trump’s rise, I contend, because not only did they support Trump directly with millions of dollars, not only did they start these pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton superPACs, but the Mercers are the ones that funded an interlocking series of groups that Steve Bannon ran or influenced. They include Breitbart News, they include Cambridge Analytica, the data firm, they included a movie production company, and they include the Government Accountability Institute, which is a nonprofit research organization down in Tallahassee, Florida that produced the “Clinton Cash” book that came out on the eve of the election, detailing all the supposedly nefarious connections between the Clinton Foundation and foreign donors that really tarnished Clinton’s image right out of the gate and hurt her in a way that I think she never really recovered from. If you trace all of this back to its taproot, it is the Mercers and their money that enabled this to happen.
In an interview with The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer that focussed on her article, ‘The Reclusive Hedge-Fund Tycoon Behind the Trump Presidency: How Robert Mercer Exploited America’s Populist Insurgency,’ Amy Goodman asked Mayer about Robert Mercer, “the man who is said to have out-Koched the Koch brothers in the 2016 election.” (Amy Goodman, ‘Full Interview: Jane Mayer on the Mercers & the Dark Money Behind the Rise of Trump & Bannon,’ Democracy Now, March 29, 2017.)
JANE MAYER: Right. And so, you know, Bannon — the language is the language of populism. But the enemy, in his view, is government. And so, if you substitute the word “government” for “elites,” when he’s talking about taking on the elites, you end up pretty much in the same place where the Kochs have been all this time, the Koch brothers, who actually worked closely with the Mercers for a few years. They’re undoing the — sort of the government as we know it, which has, you know, the protections for people, for workers, for the environment, for the poor, for the disabled. That’s where — that’s where they’re heading with this.
AMY GOODMAN: One of the companies heavily funded by Robert Mercer is Cambridge Analytica, which claims it has psychological profiles of over 200 million American voters. The firm was hired by the Trump campaign to help it target its message to potential voters. Steve Bannon even served on the company’s board. This is Cambridge Analytica’s CEO, Alexander Nix, speaking earlier this year.
ALEXANDER NIX: We started to look at issue models, predicting which issues, social and political, appeal to which members of the target audience, which voters. We actually assigned different issues to every adult in the entire United States. We could then take these models and put them into a matrix, a little bit like the dental health example, where we can categorize people or segment them according to how they’re likely to behave. Core Trump supporters, top right, may be more susceptible to a donation solicitation. Get out the vote: people who are going to vote Republican, but they need persuading to do so. Persuasion audiences: people who need shifting a little bit from the center towards the right. Once we’ve identified a segment, we can then subsegment them by the issues that are most relevant to them, and then start to target them with specific messages.
AMY GOODMAN: Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix. So, Cambridge Analytica has — claims to have psychological profiles of over 200 million American voters. Jane Mayer, tell us its significance. Steve Bannon was on its board, funded by the Mercers.
JANE MAYER: Well, again, this is part of — if you look at the history, what happened was, after 2012, when Obama was re-elected, despite the fact that the Mercers had put millions of dollars into trying to defeat him, they were upset, and they wanted to try to get better political tools with more traction. So they put money into Breitbart. They put money into the Government Accountability Institute. And the third prong was Cambridge Analytica.
It was — at that point, they concluded, and so did many others, that the Republican Party’s data analytics for running campaigns were lagging behind those that the Democrats had. The Democrats — Obama had a famously good sort of computer operation and data team. And so, they tried to — they decided, “We’ll run our own.” They bought a company. They basically invested heavily in building an — it’s an offshoot of an existing English company called Strategic Communication Laboratories. And the British company had been involved in psychological warfare operations for militaries and international elections and kind of some pretty interesting and sneaky-seeming things, which raised a lot of eyebrows when its offshoot was purchased, basically, created by this one hedge-fund family.
The day before Bannon left the White House, he met for five hours with Robert Mercer at his mansion, the Owl’s Nest, on Long Island. The evening of the day Bannon left the White House, Mercer met with Trump for dinner, ostensibly to assure him of his continued support. Despite this, it is not a stretch to suppose that, just as Mercer’s loyalties shifted to Trump from Cruz when it became obvious his ideological ‘bread’ would be better buttered on that side, he will readily shift over to a newer, better spokesperson for his incalculably well-funded agenda.
The Team Trump cult’s manifesto is no less bonkers than that of Scientology, Jim Jones, or the Children of God. Their and their followers’ unwitting ideology is basically that of Steve Bannon and his protégée in the White House, Stephen Miller, built up out of personal phobia, which is fuelled by a xenophobic fear of immigrants. Their abiding creed, all through the panned cinematic attacks on the Occupy Movement, the founding of the Tea Party, the founding of the term ‘Alt-Right’ to euphemistically replace the term ‘White Nationalism, and the founding of Breitbart as the vessel and medium for their cant, is as sickeningly put forth in their ‘bible,’ the 1973 French novel, “The Camp of the Saints,” an obscure and revolting narrative by French author Jean Raspail touting his racist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic Hate theories as ‘Judeo-Christian values.’
The reason why Religious-Far-Right, authoritarian/Evangelical operatives like Barr, Pence, Kelly, Flynn, Pompeo, De Vos, Prince, the Mercers, Bannon, Sessions and others are happy to commit immoral acts and are ethically non-responsive, their eyes glazing over when journalists ask them if they support the president’s most recent atrocity, is because they are members of a fully brainwashed, behaviourally conditioned cult. Their cognitive dissonance is like that of any post-traumatic Stockholm Syndrome sufferer. They are being told that they are an heroic part of bringing about a New Order, founded on ‘Judeo-Christian values,’ with a frighteningly militant, fundamentally deranged Old Testament/Book of Revelations-apocalyptic picture of what, exactly, these values are. They are being abjured weekly, from the pulpit, that Trump has been sent by God and that to fail to support him amounts to defying Him — to sinning, to falling off the wagon into eternal damnation.
They are rallied daily by televangelists who promise them soaring highs, amounting to the Rapture and the Second Coming, if they just stay true to Trump. It is a heady fix, and they are badly addicted. The reason they are morally incontinent is because they are effectively subsumed by a long-term, low grade fugue state, triggered by mindless, soulless, conditioned terror of Hell, from which they can only escape through a near complete abdication of individual responsibility and personal volition to a deeply sociopathic, apocalyptic world-view.