Of Hurricanes, Sharpies, and Deadly Serious Clowns

A Rant

| revcom.us


Last week in the fascist circus, the Sharpie took center stage. But like the clown in It, it was deadly serious.

When Hurricane Dorian blew through the Atlantic, wreaking disaster on the Bahamas and threatening parts of the southeastern U.S., Trump took to Twitter to claim that it threatened to dump flood-level rains on Alabama (coincidentally one of his white supremacist strongholds). The national weather service immediately tweeted the truth—that Dorian was NOT predicted to affect Alabama. They did so both because it was true and because if people had undertaken extraordinary measures to deal with the threat, it could cause harm. And the weather service (which is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association [NOAA]) was right.

But Trump had said otherwise, and Trump would not be denied. He showed official charts, revised with his amateurish Sharpie extensions on national TV to falsely extend the path of the hurricane. This then dominated liberal air waves, which crowed and derided Trump’s ignorance and idiocy.

So Trump doubled down.

Trump’s minions forced scientists to twist the truth to fit Trump’s absurd claim. They compelled the NOAA to issue an unsigned statement that the Alabama office was not actually upholding scientific laws of probability when it debunked Trump’s claim.

When the NOAA interim head, Neil Jacobs, upheld the scientists in an internal memo, Wilbur Ross, Trump’s secretary of commerce, reportedly threatened to activate an investigation of the whole agency—the very institution responsible for research into global warming, the existential threat facing humanity that Trump and his fellow fascists simply deny. What makes it even worse is that NOAA has a particular reputation for scientific objectivity and NOT bending.

Ross threatened to fire people and forced the head of NOAA to make confessions that Herr Mein Trumpf was right—despite what the scientists said... and what actually happened. NOAA head Jacobs then spoke at a gathering of the National Weather Service where he managed to both uphold Trump and say some nice words about the Alabama office that contradicted Trump.1

Liberals mockingly laughed off “Sharpie-gate” as they moved onto the Democratic presidential debate. None of the “presidential” candidates said this is a “stop everything” moment. None said, “Let’s get people on the streets to protest imposing this absolute falsity and fantasy as truth. Let's get people to protest this unacceptable denial of science. Let’s get people to protest this craziness from the highest offices of the land.” Instead, the Democrats from Piglosi to Schumer, from Biden to Beto, went along... Silent and complicit!

But Trump's move—dismissed as “clownish”—is part of how fascism comes to power, consolidates its rule over society as a whole and even other sections of the ruling class, including the liberal “reality-based” section… until reality and truth does not matter. The diktat of the fascist is all that matters, Herr F├╝hrer....

Yet the very same people act as if Trump is going to obediently and politely follow the upcoming election results if he loses.

Really? After this demonstration of perverting reality and truth on something supposedly petty when it comes to something that matters far more, Trump is going to say... “Oh man, the people have spoken, I gotta go back to my penthouse-man-cave on 5th Ave, possibly even face prosecution for my many, many frauds....”


What you saw with the NOAA incident was Trump conditioning a fascist social base in the outlook and method that whatever Trump says is true is true, regardless of reality. And the official opposition normalizing it through laughing it off. What you saw was actually part of fascism moving forward.

1. The New York Times ran a news article whose main thrust was quoting people remarking about the speech sympathetically saying “what else could the head do.” But the head of the National Weather Service, Louis Uccellini, led a rousing ovation for the Alabama forecasters who corrected Trump, saying, “Let me be clear: The Birmingham office did this to stop public panic, to ensure public safety.” Then he called on the members of that office to stand and be recognized, and those in the audience stood and applauded the staff. [back]



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