Trump-Washed

I caught a little piece of an Oliver Stone interview last night. He was saying that after thirteen years of watching Trump be decisive and commanding on The Apprentice, very few except the politically sophisticated would be able to perceive the empty vacuum at the heart of his persona. Of course, about the time of the Access Hollywood recording, producers at The Apprentice let it be known that they had to work really hard to maintain that image. Trump was abusive during scenes, and arbitrary in his decisions. One of the challenges was building a back-story that justified his actions.

Coupled with this is the dominance of Fox News in Republican circles. Joy Reid was on with Chris Hayes last night, observing that the reason the Republican base still remains loyal to Trump is because Fox continues to tell them that the Russian interference scandal is nothing worth paying attention to.

Contrast this with Joseph McCarthy, leader of the Red Scare scandals of the 1950s. McCarthy would roll into town, make a bunch of baseless accusations against local politicians, and then leave. The press would publish front-page denouncements of McCarthy’s targets, followed by back-page retractions when the accusations were debunked. Lives were ruined by the asymmetrical publicity.

What undid McCarthy were the televised Congressional hearings. Before the cameras, he was revealed as a manipulative little weasel.

Of course, some among us see Trump in the same way, but his electorate has been conditioned to associate those traits with carefully-scripted moments of glory.

But what about his sons?

It was cathartic to see Donald, Jr. on Fox News last night. He came across as a whiny brat.

Trump, Sr. characterizes the meeting with Russian representatives as “opposition research” that “almost anyone” would pursue. If so, that’s an indictment of our political culture. Trump has long been cozy with organized crime figures, and draws his legal talent from a community of ugly intimidators – men that will not even bother to apply for security clearances that would never be granted. Is this where we have come as a nation? A political culture in which winning by any means possible includes crawling through the gutter with people whose livelihood requires corrupting virtue?

In the early hours this morning, I found myself musing that maybe Comey took the line he did against Clinton in part to create conditions under which that culture would be exposed. I know that it had invaded the FBI itself, where anti-Clinton zealots used Breitbart publications to motivate a criminal investigation of her family. This is a visible case of misuse of agency resources by political operatives, but what if elected officials all across the country are interceding in investigations to protect criminals that have contributed to the destruction of other candidates?

I personally don’t find that inconceivable.

J. Edgar Hoover ran the FBI as long as he did because he had files full of the dirty secrets that elected officials wished to keep hidden. Could it be that organized crime has its own database at this point, and is securing its influence by blackmailing the political class? The Russian government – now the most powerful organized crime ring in the world – may not be motivated only by its foreign policy goals to attack our political system. It may also be extending its power through organized crime, and collaborating with U.S. criminals to corrupt not just our political class, but our entire culture.

Crones

A group of elderly women has been in my orbit for the last ten years, trying to manage my emergence into the world. Every now and then they surface in a concrete manifestation and claim privilege. I tend to sigh, but some of their pronouncements are prejudicial. I’ve decided to sound off against them.


I hate to have to say this, but when all is said and done, I’ll finally be able to do the work that I was meant to do only after the old ladies that seek to preserve order have presided over the complete collapse of human society and the global ecology.

Sometimes things have to change. It’s a delusion for either sex to believe that it can do without the other. Try to have some faith in the integrity of masculine love. You were meant to amplify it, but we can’t express it at all if you’re going to use it to amplify your fears.

And, yes, I do hear your convocations. My input to them is blocked by women that benefit from the status quo, and those of you that have direct access to me have not even begun to ask the right questions. I seem to have been categorized as just another man. What you don’t seem to understand is that my manifestation of those traits – to the degree that I do – is because the more powerful among your sisters have invested enormous energy in projecting such traits onto me.

You might take it as a measure of my strength that I am subduing them without your support.

That is why over the last fifteen years I haven’t pursued any of your romantic arrangements. I have given up on your generation, and my sisters’ generation. The future is closed to you, and I exist only to create that future. I see it – though dimly – through the trusting spirits of your female grandchildren. They do recognize me, and I am doing my best to teach them how to exercise the unique grace that love manifests in them.

Mueller to File Lewd Conduct Charges

Pursuant to his remit to investigate “Russian interference in the 2016 election, and matters that arise directly” from that investigation, Special Counsel Bob Mueller is planning to file charges against President Trump for “grabbing government by the pussies.”

This blogger has obtained the case brief. Exhibits include:

  • Public scraping and bowing at Cabinet meetings. Obviously unhappy with the proceedings, none of the Cabinet members had the balls to resign. Pussies!
  • Paul Ryan exonerating obstruction of justice with the allowance that the President is “new to his job.” Pussy! New neurosurgeons will be relieved by a precedent that establishes a defense against malpractice: “Yes, I shouldn’t have cut the spinal cord, but I’m new to my job.”
  • Mitch McConnell promising that the Senate will empanel all of Trump’s judicial appointments. We wouldn’t want to have a robust system of checks and balances to protect our citizens from government bullying, now would we? Pussy!

Trial-by-“Fired”

Donald Trump’s presidential reality show is finally hitting its stride. Rather than betraying his promises to his blue-collar loyalists, this blogger has learned that Trump’s cabinet of big-money, corporate-welfare advocates was carefully selected for a humiliating process of elimination. The juiciest moment yet was the Russian Foreign Minister’s sneering “Really? He was fired?” response to the news of James Comey’s elimination. Rupert Murdoch and his team of script-writers at Fox are preparing even worse for the rest of the team that Trump gulled into serving in his Cabinet.

Las Vegas odds-makers are setting up betting pools now. Who will be the survivor of the ultimate reality show? The reality show that is, in fact, reality?

My money is on Kim Jong-un.

But until then, of course, every week the voters that elected Trump will be able to cheer as another swamp-monster falls. Price, Mnuchin, Tillerson: the end is near!

Compromising Positions

Last night, I finally shook out of the Congressional leadership the reason for their passivity regarding Trump’s malfeasance. They are confident that he is going to destroy his presidency. They want Pence as president, because Pence is a committed partisan of Ryan’s domestic policies. And they want to secure control of Trump’s blue-collar base by blaming the Democrats for the failure of his Administration.

Trump’s attack on Comey undermines the second goal: Comey was the alt-right’s hero for his take-down of Clinton. By attacking Comey, Trump begins the alienation of his base – a base that hates with a purple passion the Washington establishment led by Ryan and McConnell.

And Pence may no longer be a viable president. Currently, the national security community is focused on the possibility of compromat, the use by Russian intelligence services of financial and social relationships to entrap their targets into the commission of treason. The US has its own culture of compromise, though: organized crime. Trump was tutored in business by a lawyer who moved in organized crime circles. Trump’s cabinet selections are almost universally people with ethical clouds in their pasts. Trump has surrounded himself with such people because they are malleable – he can use their history to command their loyalty.

In The Godfather, Michael Corleone aspired to federal office before chaos in the family’s empire force him to assume criminal control. Trump may not have been born into the Mob, but he is a student of its methods. Worse, he may beat back opposition by drawing upon the Mob’s knowledge of transgressions by federal office-holders, in much the same way that Edgar Hoover secured his control of the FBI by threatening politicians with exposure to secrets uncovered by the FBI.

Even if Ryan and McConnell weather the storm of Trump’s self-destruction, when the full story is gathered together by historians, they will emerge as the most craven of the cowards of this ear.

The Tide Pool of Selfishness

Watching Donald Trump serve as president brings up a memory from my elementary school years. The Cub Scout pack took a field trip down to the tide pools in Palos Verdes. I spent the day picking my way through the kelp-coated rocks, amazed by what I was seeing, until one of my school chums said: “Hey Brian, come see this! These kids have found some crabs!”

Excited, I rushed over, hearing raucous laughter, to be confronted by the sound of a crab being crushed against the rock under an older boy’s boot.

The principal characteristic of a stable democracy – often the only thing that prevents it from devolving to fascism – is the existence of a robust and independent justice system. The lack of such a system is what has allowed Putin to make himself the richest man in the world while running Russia. Again and again, his political enemies have languished in jail while the courts transfer their assets to Putin and his cronies.

Watching Trump dismantle our federal justice system is terrifying to me. The onslaught of court cases brought against Trump since the inauguration demonstrate the dangers of letting a narcissistic fraudster into office, and that many of them involve foreign financial dealings means that they are brought in federal court. Trump’s political and financial interests are aligned to the end of destroying the system.

In my mind, that Republican legislators green-light the demolition only builds greater certainty that they’ve got something to hide. Perhaps Republican campaign operatives are linked to the weaponization of the data stolen from the DNC by the Russians?

I was back in Palos Verdes a few years ago. The abused tide pools now are barren rock.