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February 25, 2017


I published a post a couple of months ago about the strange entanglement of a Siberian monk named Rasputin with the Romanov dynasty of Russia immediately before Lenin and his Bolsheviks took over. Rasputin, the fifth of nine children and who never went to school, became a power behind the throne and beloved of the Tsarina Alexandra who attributed the survival of her son from a serious disease to his faith healing abilities, though he was hated by ordinary Russians who resented his elevation from peasantry to what they thought was such an undeserved high position in the order of things. He was routinely accused of rape, theft, undue influence on the Tsar and Tsarina and all sorts of wrongdoings and palace intrigues by ordinary Russians but was protected by the royal family because the Tsar and Tsarina considered him to be a holy man who had saved their son’s life and felt indebted to him. Those in the street knew him as “the mad monk.”

How much of such alleged wrongdoing by Rasputin was based in fact and how much could be attributed to the increasingly loud voices of Lenin’s communists at the time is open for question. His Bolshevik party was of course very interested in ending the Romanov dynasty so that they could take over the government and were probably going after Rasputin as part of the process. Probably some such claims were true and some were not; I will not guess if off due to my innate bias against faith healers.

In all events, this year (2017) marks exactly one century since Rasputin was assassinated by Lenin’s agents, followed by Lenin’s execution of the Romanovs and the end of that dynasty, a dynasty marked by such predecessors as Peter the Great and Catherine the Great. It was a tumultuous era in Russian history as riots and civil commotion were the order of the day as the chaos of the Russian Revolution unfolded. The Bolsheviks came out the winners, communism was established, Lenin died, Stalin took over, Trotsky (living in exile in Mexico) was assassinated, Churchill announced the beginning of the Cold War with his 1947 Iron Curtain speech, and most readers know what has happened since up to today’s reign of Putin who, like Lenin, is a murdering dictator but (for some reason) continues to be complimented by Trump as “a strong leader,” all of which brings me to a discussion of the new Rasputin in the palace, Steve Bannon.

Bannon, like Rasputin, is detested by millions (and I am one of them) for his Rasputin-like undue influence over a clueless Trump, who apparently is going along with Bannon’s view of destroying the present order so that Bannon’s New World order can be established. Unlike Rasputin, Bannon is not from the peasant class, has certainly been to school and so far as I know has not claimed to be a faith healer, but even so we can fairly compare his contribution to deconstruction and disruption (as he freely admits) within the palace (White House) to that of the “mad monk” with the Romanovs.

Of course there is a big difference in the environments in which Rasputin and Bannon were and are involved. Rasputin walked into a royal experience where the Tsar’s leadership was unquestioned since he was placed on the throne by God, while Bannon is walking into an experiment in democracy with such impediments to drastic change he envisions as freedom of the press, peaceful assembly etc., rights and privileges that were non-existent under the Romanov regime. Bannon has the more difficult task in effecting change since intervening democratic institutions enshrined in our Constitution give him bigger hurdles to surpass, but he is getting a good start.

For instance, he has labeled the media as “the enemy,” and has Trump parroting his remarks from his bully pulpit. This is an important hurdle which must be won by Bannon if his New World is to get legs, i.e., he must discredit those people and institutions who would insist on truth rather than his version of it which supports his vision of what appears to be some ill-defined fascist-tinged political afterlife for (as he openly admits) not just us but for the whole world. Thus peaceful assembly of citizens is paid for by George Soros, the media lies, those who oppose coal-burning and believe in global warming are against business, and those who oppose tax cuts and less regulation for the rich and corporate class don’t understand the virtues of trickledown economics which, when combined with tax and trade reform will usher in a prosperous economy beyond anyone’s dreams, a new nirvana under Trump’s leadership.

All of such rationales for disruption and deconstruction of our economy and society as envisioned by Bannon are nothing more than propaganda with a design, of course, but he has done a good job with his Rasputin role in having Trump out on the stump and in early morning tweets parroting such dangerous confrontations with reality which, I suppose, is not surprising considering that Trump already lives in an alternate world of narcissistic haze providing a fertile ground for Bannon’s entreaties.

As the swindling salesman sang in the musical The Music Man, we got trouble, folks! Right here in River City! I wish that somehow the Romanovs had drawn the extremist political savant with revolutionary designs and that we had drawn the faith healer, though I should be careful what I ask for, since we may get both if Trump is discarded and Pence assumes the throne.            GERALD       E





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