In a delightful sign that even the most somber of bureaucratic mentalities can still be paronomastically playful, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security made public yesterday a 13-page report entitled "GRIZZLY STEPPE," which details the Russian Bear's assorted measures of "malicious cyber activity" in the U.S. presidential election -- that is, Vladimir's efforts, most pointedly, to elevate certain American friends to high places.
In broader terms, the report offers "technical details regarding the tools and infrastructure used by the Russian civilian and military intelligence Services (RIS) to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities ... [including] government organizations, critical infrastructure entities, think tanks, universities, political organizations, and corporations leading to the theft of information."
Not subtly ironic but flagrantly telling is that the greatest beneficiary of Putin's (let's call it what it essentially was) sphere-of-influence expansion is also America's leading voice of denial, dismissiveness, and self-defensive dunderheadeness. Premier-elect Donald Trump has brushed aside Russia's soft-power intervention into the American democratic process by blathering that "we ought to get on with our lives" rather than fretting about the Russian Bear's assault on the American system meant to safeguard those lives; he has belittled the U.S. intelligence community that is in universal agreement as to the attackers' proper identification; he has redirected blame for these cyberattacks at most any country but Russia, or maybe some anonymous, bed-sitting fat guy; and, in the most exemplary of Trumpian logic, he has suggested that at least one among those U.S. senators who are a trifle curious about Russia's elbowing of our electoral process, Lindsey Graham, is curious only because the South Carolinian ran against Trump in the Republican primaries -- and lost.
"Nobody knows what’s going on," Trump has averred in what professional psychologists would undoubtedly diagnosis as the granddadddy of all projections. In Trump's clinical case, however, he possesses good reason not to know -- or to claim not to know -- what's been going on, since being exposed as a foreign power's bitch is a rather awkward designation for a man who insists only he is capable of making America great again.
One of Trump's many incoming ministers of propaganda, Kellyanne Conway, has also chimed in with a flourish of projection, telling CNN, "I will tell you that even those who are sympathetic to President Obama on most issues are saying that part of the reason he [has issued fresh sanctions against Russia] was to quote 'box in' President-elect Trump. That would be very unfortunate if politics were the motivating factor here." The always politically motivated Ms. Conway vomits her self-aware gibberish with such an alluring, Goebbelsesque intensity that the weak-minded, authoritarianism-loving among us eagerly rush to regurgitate Conway & Co.'s awesome humbuggeries on social media and in cloistered forwarded emails. And so the many fallacies and epistemic closures of Trumpism are secured.
This is but one of the grizzly steppes that the American right -- after decades of priming by other pseudoconservative voices of unAmerican twaddle -- has furthered in its profoundly bizarre devotion to Trumpism's yearning authoritarianism. Even Orwell's 1948 American rightists would have at least feigned outrage at any domestic turn toward presidential autocracy, but no longer is counterfeit indignation an underlying "principle" of what we others still absurdly refer to as American conservatives. They now wear their tricolored armbands with pride, they celebrate the trashing of the American political tradition, they embrace Big Lie squalidness with an unashamed openness that sickens the conscience of out-of-power American decency.
Late yesterday afternoon I wrote that, for me, 2017 can't come soon enough. That, gentle reader, was an unpardonably undershot, self-absorbed observation. Looking around, what I should have written was that what can't come soon enough is 2021 -- the corrective, radiant aftermath, or so the ecumenically conscientious can hope, of Trumpian authoritarianism's and its epic farces' utter collapse.