Barack Obama is making headlines today. In a speech at the University of Illinois, Obama called out the “politics of fear” which are used by his successor and criticized an insufficient denunciation of “Nazi sympathizers” by the current administration.

“How hard can that be?” asked the former president. “Saying Nazis are bad?”

Also in the news, getting far less attention than the sparkly spectacle of Fauxgressive Jesus wagging his finger at Orange Hitler for being too nice to Nazis, is a report from the Washington Post (open it in a private browser to get around the paywall) that the Trump administration has done a complete 180 degree reversal of its prior position on Syria. And before you jump on me about believing anonymously sourced reports from an establishment outlet that is fully owned by a CIA contractor, this isn’t one of those: the sources are senior State Department officials who are named in the article.

According to the State Department’s James Jeffrey and Joel Rayburn, the Trump administration has now abandoned its previous goal of pulling out of Syria as soon as possible. The conditions for ending the US military’s illegal occupation of a sovereign nation now reportedly include “the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria, and establishment of a stable, nonthreatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community,” which is another way of saying that the occupation will continue indefinitely and regime change is back on the table.

Twenty paragraphs into the report, we get to something even more disturbing. While the Trump administration has been issuing warnings that there will be harsh consequences for using chemical weapons, apparently now no attacks of any kind by the Syrian government on the terrorist militias occupying the province of Idlib will be permitted by the United States at all. No attacking the terrorists, period.

“We’ve started using new language,” Jeffrey said, referring to previous warnings against the use of chemical weapons. Now, he said, the United States will not tolerate “an attack. Period.”

“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation” he said. “You add to that, if you use chemical weapons, or create refu­gee flows or attack innocent civilians,” and “the consequences of that are that we will shift our positions and use all of our tools to make it clear that we’ll have to find ways to achieve our goals that are less reliant on the goodwill of the Russians.”

So we’ve got Trump administration officials saying that the extremist factions which were armed and supported by the US and its allies during the Obama administration are completely off limits, and that the military occupation of Syria will continue until Syria’s Middle Eastern allies leave the country and the Syrian government begins acting as America commands.

So, maybe, the reason Trump doesn’t spend all day tweeting “Nazis are bad” is because if he did, the establishment propagandists would lose the narrative that not saying “Nazis are bad” is the worst thing that this president is doing? Maybe if Trump started talking about how bad Nazis are whenever he’s in front of a camera, people might stop calling him Orange Hitler and start noticing that he’s actually Orange Obama?

Mainstream Democrats and Republicans (who I’m tempted to just start referring to as “The John McCain Party” for simplicity’s sake) have been suffering from an increasingly bizarre form of amnesia about George W Bush, completely forgetting about his draconian, Orwellian bloody smear of a presidency and presenting him as a cuddly wuddly old man who gives candy to nice ladies. But even people who remember what a bloodthirsty monster that man is tend to forget that he actually campaigned on a “humble foreign policy” to get (kinda sorta) elected.

In 2008 Bush was succeeded by Obama, who’d campaigned against the warmongering of his predecessor and pledged to clean up the messes Bush made in Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead he continued and drastically expanded Bush’s neoconservative war agendas, as well as expanding his Orwellian surveillance program while adding unprecedented persecution of whistleblowers into the mix as well. And now Trump, who campaigned against Obama’s interventionist foreign policy and harshly attacked his Syrian interventionism for years, is continuing Obama’s foreign policy and preparing to harshly attack Syria.

There is a pattern here. It isn’t hard to see. It is grinding its pelvis into our faces. The only reason more people don’t see it is because there’s so much narrative spin around US presidents.

If you listen to the mass media about Trump, you either believe that he is a Nazi Kremlin agent who presents a unique and unprecedented threat to America, or a populist hero who is fighting for the common man against the Deep State, depending on your echo chamber of preference. But if you mute the mass media narratives and just look at what’s happening without any partisan filters, what you see is soldiers, planes, bases and wars ships continuing to expand into other countries. You see more and more money, resources and creativity being poured into the war machine. You see a plutocratic class continuing to dictate the behavior of the US government. You see ordinary people continuing to struggle to make ends meet. You see an increasingly militarized police force, a continually expanding Orwellian surveillance system, dangerous and steadily increasing tensions with Russia, increasingly uninhibited ecocidal capitalism, increasingly unregulated exploitative corporations and banks.

You see the same bullshit with a different skin pigmentation.

I point this out not because I want people to lose hope, but in fact just the opposite. It can be soul-crushing to watch us continually hurtle toward disaster and dystopia despite hopeful gains being made in the political sphere, but that isn’t happening because the situation is hopeless, it’s happening because we’ve been looking in the wrong direction. You can’t out-vote a power establishment which has the entire political and government system locked down using alliances, campaign finance, corporate lobbying and mass media propaganda, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fight them. It just means you can’t fight them on their terms using their tools.

In reality the entire Orwellian oppression machine which keeps us on the same track while creating the illusion of choice and democracy is held together by the thinnest of threads: it’s held together by narrative. What prevents us from creating real change is the constant narrative spin that is placed around world events by the plutocrat-controlled media who manipulate the way society thinks and votes. The entire empire is built upon that one thin thread of imaginary thought fluff.

What we can do, which would be very, very effective against the propaganda matrix we are imprisoned in, is begin a conscious, concerted grassroots information rebellion against the establishment propaganda machine which holds the entire system in place. Attack the establishment media’s lies and manipulations on all fronts using as much creativity as you’ve got so that you weaken the general population’s trust in the corporate propaganda they’re being mainlined day in and day out. As soon as people recognize that they are being manipulated by untrustworthy sources, they’ll become far more difficult to propagandize.

Without the ability to manipulate the way people think and vote and keep us all pulling the same levers day in and day out, political solutions become possible, and a whole array of other possibilities open up that we’d never been permitted to consider by the narrative matrix which was keeping us blinkered. And then we’d have a chance to stop dancing the same old dance while the same empire drones shuffle in and out of office wearing different masks, and, our minds no longer imprisoned by deceit, make that bold, daring leap into the unfamiliar at long last.


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21 responses to “Trump Minus Narrative Equals Bushbama”

  1. ** increasingly militarized police force **

    Yawn. Give that one a rest, Caitlin. SWAT teams are overused and a certain small number of cops will make mistakes or use excessive (or insufficient) force. But our communities are not awash in MRAP vehicles and towed artillery.

    The rest is what makes you essential reading.

    PS – if you don’t like “uninhibited ecocidal capitalism” you’ll LOVE uninhibited ecocidal socialism. Down in Venezuela they’re eating zoo animals and killing cows in the fields. Your brand of socialism would be different, of course.

  2. Mr Mirzoeff – THANK YOU for saying what Caitlin refuses to say – perhaps to cater to her self proclaiming do gooder lefty following – “I am still unsure if Trump is good or bad.”

    Is the point of this article that: Trump is Obama is Bush is Clinton is Bush Sr??

    The MIC forces me to allow for that possibility, but unless you’re living in America today, how can you possibly know just how insane ‘the Left’ has become here with their Trump Derangement Syndrome?? It’s literally unsafe to wear a MAGA baseball cap in many places. Good luck booking a conservative speaker at ANY college campus across the country, without serious vandalism, assaults and a 50/50 chance of it simply being shut down by authorities, “for safety reasons.” Coupled with the pathetic ‘leadership’ of Hollyweird, CNN, ESPN, it seriously is looking like a Civil War is coming to America, because real Americans see through a lotta the bullshit and won’t back down. We love our country. We aren’t the ones sending troops around the world on regime change missions. (See: ‘Israel’)

    Can anyone honestly say they’ve EVER seen anything like Donald Trump’s election and post election reactions from mainstream media and established Wash DC Swamp monsters?

    The fact that he, his family, his support are so universally, 24/7’ly, attacked for fake reasons should be a HUGE WAKE UP CALL to ALL!!

    WHY DO THEY HATE THIS MAN SO MUCH after he defeated the most corrupt politician in US history?? WHAT DO THEY HAVE TO HIDE? WHY DO THEY FEAR HIM?

    Are you able to consider that pizzagate is way more than a ‘debunked’ conspiracy theory?!

    1. Respectfully, I would not completely reject what Johnstone says. The vital question at the present moment in history is as follows. Just exactly WHO in the departments of the US government is/are actually in control of US “foreign policy”? Is it a cabal of domestic and foreign Deep State officials, or it is the sitting president that is quite obviously (by now even to cadavers) resisting a well-coordinated, 24/7 “regime change” operation.
      What the president must now do is RESIST the slings and arrows to escalate the US military’s involvement in Syria NO MATTER WHAT THE DOMESTIC POLITICAL COST OF DOING THAT, EVEN LOSING A SECOND TERM. Were he to resist those irresistible forces around him pushing for more war until the next presidential campaign, he could run on having resisted the push to more war and force the D side of the same coin to run on a platform which promises MORE war (and the abolition of ICE, no wall, free college education, free health care for anyone who can somehow make it onto US soil, the outright abolition of the right to bear arms, a big fat check every month whether you’re working or not, etc.). THEN US voters would have a REAL choice about their future. FWIW, I have absolutely no idea if the present president would be elected if he again ran on a platform of getting along with other nuclear powers rather than continuing the US’s traditional foreign policy which will inevitably lead to a nuclear war. There’s a lot of profit in war and, so far anyway, very few downsides other than loss of liberty at home and a soaring national debt which will never be paid back with anything other than even more debt.
      Again, in order to prevent a 1930s-like Great Depression, the department of defense expenditures and contract system MUST remain in place for at least some period of time should peace break out, but the contracts should in peacetime be awarded for the creating implements of peace instead of for war. Running a campaign on this promise would calm the fears of unemployment for those millions who presently make their livings making weapon systems and war, as well as for carefully monitoring what Americans and others do 24/7 and meddling in their lives.
      Will the president escalate and expand the US’s perpetual wars? THAT is the question. If he does, then Johnstone will have been proven correct in her analysis. If he does not, a lot of people who voted for better relations with nuclear powers will I think be pretty happy they voted the way that did, as long as they don’t lose their job at Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, etc. etc. etc.

      1. All very well said, ISHKABIBBLE. Thank you…

        FWIW – and admittedly this may be wishful thinking – I believe this President has a big Christmas present for the world, not Syria related, but pertaining to pizzagate.

    2. You nailed it. The media psy-ops are generating hatred because he defeated the most corrupt politician in US history (other than Dick Cheney and his satellites). What matters is IN WHAT WAY she is corrupt: her decisions as SoS were so clearly in support of the Neo-con war agenda.
      I tossed my vote to the fates, since I’m Green anyway, but there was no way to tell if the Trumpster would be as willing to start WW3 as Hillary Rodham Clinton. Everybody campaigns on a “less intervention” platform (including George W.), so DT could not be taken at his word. Hey, put Bernie Sanders in the White House, and you’ll see an about-face. The Deep State makes offers you just can’t refuse.
      Now it’s clear that Trump has monkey-wrenched that agenda to some degree. How has he managed to get away with that? Is it his dementia and loose lips that make him less manipulable? Does he care less about his life than other presidents? Are they actually afraid of his direct-to-the-people revelations mixed with extreme weirdness? Are they afraid we’re picking out the truth pellets in there?

      1. : ) Great questions, Julie! Thanks for sharing your thoughts…

        It’s tough for common folks to find ANY truth pellets anywhere. I can’t watch the liars lying about other liars show; nor keep up with all of DT’s words, tweets and behaviors.

        What I know: we’ve never seen anything like Donald Trump’s election and the resultant Derangement Syndrome that has literally afflicted half the population here. Where was all that hate before he showed up and knocked the politically correct Anti-America Agenda on its ass?!

        And more importantly, WHY?? He’s NOT a racist, fascist or sexist; nor is he coming for anybody’s rights. Whom has he hurt?! The SWAMP fears this man. Adolf Hitler cumulatively since WWII hasn’t received as much hate as President Trump.

        You may agree that he’s probably powerless against the MIC, as is anyone else who wants to live. It sucks what we’re hearing about Syria, knowing that we’re not getting reliable info.

        BUT, domestically, he’s saying what HAS to be said about jobs & NAFTA, the UN, ‘climate change,’ and illegal immigration. THAT is the inspiration for his support! A long time coming and well deserved.

        Occasionally I read what looks to be semi-reliable sources talking about human trafficking and pizzagate kinda stuff being targeted by this Administration. Maybe it’s just wishful reading on my part, but my gut tells me that there’s big news – the good kind! – on the way.

        I think this quote from a recent Nike related article very well describes what we’re watching:

        “If there is ANYONE who has just done it, against all odds, against the media, against the establishment republicans, against the the Clinton and obummer machines, it is Donald J Trump. MAGA! Just do it.”

        All true!! And who woulda believed it until it actually happened?!

        Still optimistic in America…

  3. We’re being overwhelmed by the psyop sock puppets.

  4. “I was taken down not because we lie, but because we tell the truth — and because we were popular… And because we dared to go to that committee hearing and stand up to Rubio and stand up to the lies of mainstream media and speak the truth.”

  5. “For what is afoot here is something America specializes in — regime change. Only the regime our establishment and media mean to change is the government of the United States. What is afoot is the overthrow of America’s democratically elected head of state.”

  6. “How US Government Relies on Lying Media”
    Internet, Radio, TV, magazines, newspapers

  7. The following is a statement by George Kennan in about 1987, just a few short years before you know what:
    “Were the Soviet Union to sink tomorrow under the waters of the ocean, the American military-industrial establishment would have to go on, substantially unchanged, until some other adversary could be invented. Anything else would be an unacceptable shock to the American economy.”
    When he said that, Kennan meant EXACTLY what he said, and what he said has been proven true every day since the end of the USSR. What people today must somehow understand and fully appreciate is that what Kennan said over 30 years ago IS EVEN MORE TRUE TODAY! Why?
    Government Contracts
    United States of America
    Defense Department
    On the right side of the above page select “contractors by state”. On the next page select, for example, “Virginia” and notice on the page that opens the value of “defense” contracts awarded to Virginia contractors from 2000 to 2017 and the amounts spent in each year during that period. Virginia is a state that has a population of around 8.5 million.
    Then check California, etc. and you will realize the REAL, POLITICALLY IRRESISTIBLE POWER of the military-security-industrial complex in the USA Today. How many Virginia etc. voters are going to vote for a peacenik presidential candidate? Few, if any, because those voters would rather accept perpetual war, even nuclear, than have peace break out and lose their jobs.
    Outright peacenik candidates like Ron Paul, Nader, Stein, etc. never got, and never will, get elected. Trump, the accidental president, the political “immaculate conception”, unlike all the other R and D candidates, does not want nuclear war and, as he demonstrated for the world to see in Helsinki, at least tried to make better relations with Russia, but look at how the Deep State and their MSM slaves reacted, for all the world to see. One of the few things that Trump does right is denounced 24/7 and an act of treason.
    The US Elite and their Deep State and MSM are now so warped that they will try to destroy any prospect for peace. This is the SOLE REASON that explains absolutely everything about what’s going on in Washington — McCain’s funeral, the 24/7 anti-Trump, anti-Russia hysteria, former presidents and heads of CIA, FBI, etc. railing against the sitting president, etc.
    IMO what must somehow be made to happen is that the war contract system detailed above has to, at least for some period of time, be transformed into peace contract system, so that there is no economic catastrophe (depression like the ’30s) as peace breaks out. All those weapons systems should/will be peace systems — solar power systems, bullet trains instead of bullets, etc. But this would be regarded as communism or socialism and “we” can’t afford that. Far better to borrow for bombs and perpetual war. That’s how fucked the present system is. There is no political constituency for peace because “prosperity” in the US “economy” depends upon, as Kennan said 30 years ago, perpetual enemies and perpetual war.
    This completely ignores another fatal flaw in the US’s present economic system — the necessity of perpetual economic/population growth.

    1. “Trump, the accidental president, the political “immaculate conception”, unlike all the other R and D candidates, does not want nuclear war and, as he demonstrated for the world to see in Helsinki, at least tried to make better relations with Russia,”
      Ishkabibble, what an image, LOL, full of irony and truth!

      “Then check California, etc. and you will realize the REAL, POLITICALLY IRRESISTIBLE POWER of the military-security-industrial complex in the USA Today.”
      You make me realize I’ve been thinking about the war machine economy in pretty simplistic ways: we transform the military into a different kind of social program – one that cleans up our environmental messes at home and abroad.
      But it’s not just the Pentagon, you point out. All the money pouring into the so-called “private” sector for arms, supplies, intel, and security can’t just be yanked; it has to be re-routed into something that will do some good and have a multiplier effect on the economy, particularly the 3rd-wave knowledge economy. Once people see a ripple effect, it may dawn on them that a war economy is a dead-end, where the wealth simply gets hoarded by the usual suspects because they fear everyone else.

      1. Post Cold War in the early 90s, there was much talk about “Conversion” from military to peacetime expenditures. In fact there was some leveling off of military expenditures. It was a central plank in my platform when I ran unsuccessfully for Congress twice in the early 90s. And I never met anyone then who thought it a bad idea – taking half the military budget and using it for other purposes including social programs with some to pay down the debt.
        Perhaps it was this atmosphere that led Cheney and Wolfowitz and the rest of the crowd in PNAC to declare we needed a “Pearl Harbor-Like Event” to reverse things.
        And then Bush was elected as a “compassionate conservative” who was through with “nation building” and a VP named Cheney. And lo and behold just months later before Bush’s first year was out, we got 9/11 – a handful of jihadis breaking through to do the deed even though the Mossad was following them and FBI agents in the field were warning that they were learning to fly but not land Jumbos.
        What great “luck” for PNAC!
        And here we are 17 years later with Iraq, Libya and Syria lying in ruins – as per plan- with Iran next in the cards and Israel smiling sweetly while the Melikuns do the dirty work and incur the hatred of the world.
        If the peace movement were half as clever as the Israelis and their Amen Corner, and if the peace movement were free of Russophobia and “humanitarian” imperialist impulses and willing to work across the political spectrum, as Caitlin has urge and for which she was roundly trashed by the Eric Draitser, the leader, and the rest of the triumvirate at CounterPurge – if all those things had come to pass, we might be on the road to peace today rather than on the road to Idlib and onward to Armageddon.
        There is time left – but not much, my friends. Not much.

    2. Good comment.

      The federal government has no constitutional power to fool with solar power or bullet trains.

  8. Obama may have had trouble saying Nazis are bad too. At least if the Russians propose the motion.

  9. Dear Caitlin: you say “What we can do…is begin a conscious, concerted grassroots information rebellion against the establishment propaganda machine…Attack the establishment media’s lies and manipulations on all fronts using as much creativity as you’ve got so that you weaken the general population’s trust in the corporate propaganda they’re being mainlined day in and day out. As soon as people recognize that they are being manipulated by untrustworthy sources, they’ll become far more difficult to propagandize.”

    However, whenever I have tried to do that, I get called “a crazy conspiracy theorist” or the other person stops me and says “I don’t want to hear it.” I have provided actual evidence to support my claims, but the source of that evidence (for instance, Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity”) gets attacked. It seems people just do not want to know the truth which can, indeed, be heartbreaking and demoralizing.

    So, how exactly do you propose that one “attack” the lies?

    Love your work and your articles. Thanks.

    1. as chris hedges wrote a few years ago in one of his columns, I believe quoting reinhold niebuhr, “imagination is revolt.” in and of itself. if you are the only one on earth who believes in the sign you are holding on a corner, people throwing trash at you, demeaning you, laughing at you — even if all avenues have been blocked and you are in a cell by yourself 24 hours a day but you somehow manage to protect your imagination and rise above state narratives and the propagandized masses, even if it’s only in your own skull, visible to no one but yourself — then you are hope. there is still hope in the world because of you.

    2. You’re so right. Most people just don’t want to hear the truth. It’s too painful to face the hard reality that we have been lied to and manipulated all our lives. But it’s the only solution and we must keep on trying to pull the curtain back before it’s literally too late.

  10. The whole “promise to pull out” thing has some abysmal history attached to it.

  11. 1) Doesn’t Trump do exactly what you ask- change the narrative? Who has done more to discredit mainstream media, the enemy of the people? But he actually more said fake news was the enemy, and then pointed out purveyors. Twitter direct communication undermines them, they hate him for it – he is your ally in this.

    2) Why don’t you ever talk about 9/11? Consider this:
    Patriot Act, permanent war

    I am still unsure if Trump is good or bad.

    3) I think it takes more than changing narrative, consider the Declaration of Independence and Lincoln’s 2nd inaugural address.

    We need to attack their money, they hate that, general strikes, tax strikes, stop buying stuff. People in the streets, they hate crowds: Bernie, Trump.

    Maybe one day per month, first Friday say, get out in the streets, shut it all down, and collect and broadcast complaints.

    I’ve read that non-violence is the best way to effect change (MLK, Ghandi, Kaepernick) , but I have a nagging feeling that it will take blood. Also that 9/11 was a blood sacrifice to the devil.

  12. I am afraid the usually very perceptive Caitlin J. has missed something here. Here is how the ever accurate Mercury News reports the story of change in Syrian policy. (

    “The new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year,” said James Jeffrey, a retired senior Foreign Service officer who last month was named Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s ‘representative for Syria engagement.’….
    In other words, James Jeffrey would NOT say that Trump had “signed off” on it. Read again what he said.

    Jeffrey is the very model of modern Deep State denizen. Look at his “credentials.”

    Now is it really hard to see that Trump has not reversed his policy – the Deep State has. So there is ambiguity about what is to come, to say the least. There has been an upsurge recently of anti-Syrian diatribes coming from all the usual sources, especially neocon monster Nikki Haley. Is it wise for Trump to oppose that now right before the midterms? I do not think so. He postponed the followup Summit with Putin until after the midterms despite the fact that a majority of the American people said they approved of it and 63% approve of better relations with Russia. The pause on Syrian disengagement seems to be the same thing.
    It will not help Trump to pursue the goals he has stated for Russia and his statement just last April that the US would soon depart Syria – at the present moment just before the midterms. Many of those members of Congress who will vote against impeachment might be threatened by such actions and the Respectables would be scandalized by it and pounce viciously.
    Here again we see Trump trying to govern in the face of stubborn opposition by the Deep Imperial State and its friends in the MSM.
    Let us wait and see what happens after the midterms.

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