Oh no! Not another &$(#!ing piece about bloody Trump!
Why not? Everybody is doing them. It asserts journalistic integrity and helps get the ugly vision out of your system. And as Yossarian taught us, If everybody does it, I would be crazy not to, right?
NOTE: if you are something like a Republican and you still support the incompetent attempted tyrant, don’t read this. It must be very hard to protect and insulate your fantasies. Don’t risk reality.
Monday morning’s update is that the crime family boss posing as a so-called President in the White House has appointed an official voter suppression committee. Given the record of its effective executive, Kobach, its primary purpose will be to perpetuate the Republicans’ and their lunatic White House clown’s fake stories and help states, especially southern states, enact voter suppression measures. We can assume it is a move in Trump’s campaign to stay President in 2020. Like Berlusconi, he needs to win that to retain immunity to stay out of prison. The committee’s secondary mission will probably be to undermine and dilute the Congressional and FBI investigations into Trump’s 2015/16 campaign. That is speculative, but keep an eye open for it.
Have you seen the nugget exposed by Louise Mensch, that a sealed indictment of Trump has been written and recorded by the FISA court? Magic. Louise Mensch used to be a Conservative Member of Parliament and media whore that I didn’t like. A few years ago, she resigned, moved to New York, activated some of her PR skills to get a quick public profile, but also re-invented herself as a surprisingly effective investigative reporter.
Trump’s main skill throughout his pinball career has been to stay out of jail. I would suspect that he was at greatest risk during and shortly after his Atlantic City casino period. Building them would have required working with mafia-related public officials and unions. He managed the business badly (at least if it was ever intended to be a normal, profitable business) so it came under extreme pressure, requiring tricky financial footwork to ensure that the bankruptcies lost other people’s money, not his.
One of the main income streams of large casinos has traditionally been money laundering. Macao is said to be lax on controlling it, so the source of many of the “markers” that get drug and national-scale embezzlement money into the world gambling network. Then a player could exchange the marker for chips at, say, Trump Taj Mahal. He plays a little, loses say $100K, cashes in the rest of the chips. He may even show some cash as “winnings,” pay some tax and come out smelling like a clean citizen.
When Trump’s Atlantic City casino overload was in trouble, could he have resisted the temptation? The problem is proving it. The casino laundry process has high deniability. The Taj Mahal paid $10m in fines for lax control, but there was no direct accusation of laundering. The implication is that money laundering happened there, but they can’t actually implicate the casino operator.
An interesting aside, of the kind I like possibly more than the main narrative: the main sources of funding for Israeli/Jewish settlements in the West Bank are probably Sheldon Adelson, the biggest casino operator in Macao, and Lev Leviev, an Israeli diamond tycoon, possibly the world’s biggest player in the diamond business, who has frequently been accused of smuggling and trading in blood diamonds. Leviev is also principal benefactor of Chabad or Lubavitch, one of the black-hat Hasidic “Ultra-Orthodox” groups involved in the settlement movement. If the worst suspicions are true – as they often are – the Israeli/Jewish land grab on the West Bank could be a client of money laundering and blood diamonds.
At least some of Leviev’s New York operations are managed or fronted by his daughter, who lives there. She is very good friends with and has done business with a lot of zeros on the numbers with – da dum dum – Jared Kushner and his wife, Ivanka Trump.
Could Leviev be in the Trump/Russia stuff somehow? Although not Russian by citizenship and residence, he was born there. Russia is a major source of diamonds. I am pretty sure Leviev has business and offices in Russia. Russians are the source of a lot of the big cash that goes through the casino legitimation process.
All right! Stop this, get to the week’s best scandal: Comey.
President “You’re fired!” doesn’t know how to terminate a senior official. Or doesn’t care.
You would think a good show of firing people should be in his skill set, no? Well, Trump has made a dog’s dinner of his James Comey problem, and a worse mess of the PR, and the damage control effort quickly became the weekend’s most popular standup comedy topic. Amidst the tangle of lies we expect from the Trump circus, Sarah Huckabee, one of the President’s flatterers, topped even Kellyanne. She said FBI career people had lost confidence in and did not like working with Comey. Andrew McCabe, an FBI career man and acting director, quickly binned that, making it just another of the false statements that make up most of what she says. Makes me miss Kellyanne, who was at least funny, crazy and wily. Huckabee is just a misery with battle-axe tendencies. Now Trump says he might cancel l press briefings. I wouldn’t be surprised. He is increasingly isolated within a ring of sycophants, probably baffled and frustrated as to why his stupid moves that would have worked in New York and Azerbaijan are just pissing people off more in the US. On his stately march toward impeachment or commitment, he will probably try more coup-like moves. He is unlikely to succeed – too stupid and clumsy – but when he is fully cornered, his only options will be to go quietly or try to grab all the controls.
Comedy. Don’t let laughing at him lower your guard. Being a clown does not prevent being a vicious criminal. The Joker in Batman is one of our literary reference points. A key point of difference: The Joker has an evil sense of irony. Trump seems oblivious to the dark gallows humor he sells.
The leak machine says the Clown President was angry about Comey. So he has reached the point of demented arrogance where he can act out emotion.
Did you know that Trump keeps his own private security team, in addition to the Secret Service? Keith Schiller, the same thug we saw pushing Jorge Ramos and others out his campaign rallies and press conferences, is the head of it. I wonder if one of their missions is to protect him from the Secret Service in case the rest of the government awakes from its slowly boiling frog torpor and identifies the coup d’état in progress.
He sent Schiller, his personal home Blackwater, to deliver the termination letter. Two days after sending it, Trump denied its accuracy. He actually called himself liar this week, while admitting obstruction of justice on TV.
Sending the enforcer suggests that Trump is personally intimidated by Comey and the FBI. Our Joker is badly out of shape. He likes being tall, bulky and imposing, disguising the rolls of pudge inside the work of expensive tailors, but Comey is 6’8”, trim and fit. His department is full of armed, trained enforcement officers. Trump does not look like he would want his physical anxiety exposed or his composure tested in public.
He has picked Andrew Jackson as his presidential rôle model, but of course he is flattering himself. Andrew Jackson was a racist, like Trump; genocidal, which he may be; but also personally brave, violent, and handy with weapons.
Not only is this vicious clown the worst President ever, he is worse than we ever imagined a President could be.
It is strange to most of the country, and certainly must be to wary watchers of the capricious, deadly American empire in other countries, that the President of the US is a pig who can’t distinguish reality from his fantasies or see people, the country, its traditions, savage as they unfortunately are, outside of reference to his sick self.
He is a vulgar narcissist, a thief on a grand scale and would be a tinpot dictator except for the fact that control of the U.S. military and nuclear arsenal is way above tinpot pay grade. Washington’s empire stage is the playground of madness at the best of times, even with a sane person’s fingers on the nuclear trigger. For what it looks like in the hands of a mad, vicious clown, see the Batman comics, and remember that right now, there is no Batman but there is a Joker.
Preet Bharara, Sally Yates, now James Comey. The common element: they were all supervising investigations that could have ended the long run of Trump’s best skill: his ability to stay out of jail and criminal charges. Russia messing with elections is just the door into the game of a crime family.
Adam Schiff – also investigating, but as an elected official, not easy to fire, though he would do best to hire heavily armed security and watch out for Keith Schiller – pointed out last night that if her father The Joker had not renounced his anti-China policy, Ivanka would not have been granted her Chinese copyrights and her husband’s family would not be selling US immigration passes for $500,000 a time. Which came first?
From a certain angle, there is paradoxically a quality to admire in Trump’s naked tinpot criminality. He knows that the U.S. government has been a complicit junior partner in the world’s biggest racket for a long time, at least since the Robber Baron era, when JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie were the honchos of money, oil and steel. Behind the illusion that elected constitutional government creates money, the bank complex including the Federal Reserve (despite its name, actually a private enterprise owned and controlled by big banks) don’t just manage money. They create it. They create money by funding national debt with money created essentially by writing the number down. They buy government bonds with the money they create to buy bonds. The government then owes the banks the principal of the bonds. You can’t really shrink the national debt; it represents the money supply. It is owed to banks. The banking complex owns the governments like your mortgage lender owns your house, except that government has legislative power and an army, so could theoretically nationalize the banks and all the money.
Andrew Jackson almost did exactly that. Maybe Trump’s plan: is to nationalize everything and own all the dollars is the world.
The White House has become the weekday headquarters of an extortion racket.
Mitch McConnell, the slime-coated bottom feeder who wrangles the Republicans in the Senate, said this week that the Justice Department had “lost patience” with Comey. He seems coordinated with Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Good company.
Trump’s “Justice Department” is Sessions, a poisonous reptile who lives off the scraps dribbled on the floor by Trump’s bad manners. His job is to cover the boss’s pockmarked ass. Comey was the highest ranking cop threatening to penetrate the wall and moat Sessions is supposed to guard around his liege lord. They may now have to worry about Rodney Rosenstein. He looks like somebody who might soon be sickened by his environment.
Remember Trump being angry when Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation? In the thief-in-chief’s mind, when he was elevated to capo di tutti capi the AG’s job as a consigliere of the family is not to serve the country by sustaining the rule of law, or to give in to it when caught out. It is to keep il Padrone out of prison at any cost including the sacrifice of his honor, if the poison dwarf had any, and his own foul little life.
In return, Sessions gets to pursue some of his cruel hobbies, like using mandatory sentencing for drug offenses to lock more Black Americans up in private prisons, where according to one of the stranger articles of the Constitution, they are re-enslaved.
If you don’t think the rest of the world can see that this is a “policy” of a sort we might expect from Robert Mugabe, you underestimate the perception of people less disabled by our stunted indoctrination system, with its flags and songs, holy writs and imperial mythology.
Trump denies he asked Comey for personal loyalty, Michael Corleone style. Do you believe him? Comey demurred. I wonder if The Joker sat up that night, rewatching the series. Maybe even Godfather III, when Andy Garcia sits in the big chair and the Corleone soldiers come in to kiss his hand.
How would you feel about kissing Trump’s hand? I bet that image put you off your dinner.
We can see a personal Trumpism less dimly through the switchbacks of the Comey story. Trump seeks the protective cover of deputy AG Rosenstein, but also wants to be seen as the sole power, the strongman, the decider. He is untroubled by the contradictory tangle. Sarah Huckabee and Sean Spicer are learning how to work within that twisted environment, as the wonderful Kellyanne always could. Washington journalists are a step behind. Normal humans still struggle with it. Trump supporters probably just let it glide by. They are used to not understanding anything.
So was this week the beginning of the end? Or did the end start months ago, and this is just a mogul bump in the long tumble down?
And who is it the end for – the Trump crime family or us?
Maybe he will get away with it. Americans used to be bold and active against oppression, back when our oppressors were routinely violent, but now tend to torpid, anesthetized by chemical and entertainment drugs. Spectacle is easier than reality. Trump’s conspicuous talent in his business career has been to stay out of prison. Even he knows that his election was a fluke, requiring the unwitting collusion of the awful Clinton campaign and the moral, intellectual and spiritual deadness of the Democratic Party itself snuffing out the progressive alternative and opposition, so the Republican delusion did not even have to do it. He likes to say that the Russia investigation is the product of the Democrats unwillingness to take responsibility for their failure, but at some level, he knows that while that may be the pretext, it is not the goal and is unlikely to be the outcome. The proper outcome will be to put him, his family and accomplices into prisons, to confiscate their stolen assets, and to restore a government that can pretend to legitimacy and civil behavior. In more prosaic Washington Realpolitik, though, it is more likely that his last political deal will be to trade leaving office for immunity from prison.
Western civilization’s descent into a new feudal barbarism may be unstoppable. But if it is not, or can be delayed, and if Americans are sensitive enough to the national embarrassment of Trump in Washington, we might get rid of the excruciating “exceptional nation” conceit.
The United States is full of people, like any other people. “Exceptional nation” is not a difference born of the righteous pretense of our tent show pious like Pence and the evangelical crusaders, or the true believers in our State Religion of flags, pledges of allegiance, national songs and holy texts.
It is a trope of empires, to justify the horrors they commit in the quest for international power. Imperial Rome (both Republican and Augustan), Genghiz Khan, Napoleon, Great Britain and now the USA were exceptional nations. Americans believe themselves exonerated for murdering people by dropping bombs on Yemeni weddings, because we are exceptional. We believe that ISIS, Al Qaeda and Al Assad are terrorists for using surprise and brutal death to generate fear, but that the American military, the most fearsome force of violence and major killer in the world, is not. Because we are exceptional.
Iran is far from the major state sponsor of terrorism. Even if the government’s accusations are true, the Revolutionary Guard is way behind the Pentagon and the CIA, the violence departments of The Exceptional Nation.
At some level, all of us capable of thought know the official story is bullshit, but we live in it anyway. We are taught the myths of imperialism and nationalism because the players of the power game need your labor and your blood on their battlefields. See how exceptional you feel when you are dead or in the waiting room of a VA hospital for treatment for PTSD, a new therapeutic name for the shock and guilt of massive murder and violence. We can’t call it by its right name, because we are the Exceptional Nation.
Okay – lots of adjectives. Good fun. I hope it helps. Now let’s be practical:
Trump supporters: give it up. You were had by a con man. It has happened to all of us at one time or another. Come back. Your brothers and sisters will forgive you. You will forgive yourselves. Just say honestly, “We got it wrong.”
Make the opposite election, and you will end up supporting fascism and your own oppression. Sick, ugly souls like Trump, Bannon, Stephen Miller (remember him? His brief public exposure was not good) Marine Le Pen and Geert Wilders will sink gory hooks into our civilization and bleed it to death. Civilization itself will go under ground, into monasteries as in the Dark Ages, and may emerge in some truncated, distorted form, possibly a few centuries hence.
You/we of the baffled majority aware we are afflicted by parasites as unsightly as the Alien face huggers – resist. Welcome back our brethren who strayed into error who can be saved (I am practicing for those monasteries). Even though our temple has been defiled, drive these thieves out of it.
The Trump clan is a crime family. We should be deciding now: do we compromise, letting them get away to some kind of exile with enough of their spoils to be rich, or do we send them to our Elba – Guantanamo – after stripping away their assets and returning them to the countries they stole them from?
Two schools of thought are of interest now, after three months of the crime family White House. Some think Trump’s coup against the remnants of US democracy and some of its oligarchy may succeed. Others think that he is too clumsy and crazy to achieve anything but coming unstuck and finally getting some prison time.
Trump has the power to fire Comey, but you, we, have the power to fire Trump. Impeachment is the weapon that will drive him out of the White House. Congress manages impeachment, but if we have the will to stand up, we control Congress. It may mean taking to the streets, a danger. Experience shows that the American military and militarized police will fire live bullets into crowds of their co-citizens, possibly even their own families, to protect their tyrant.
I may come with you. Or I may retreat into exile. Or I may be planting onions and copying texts in one of those monasteries, waiting generations for this plague to pass.
Back to the mean streets: it is almost certainly an optimistic dream that “the people” going active will restore democracy, or even that a democracy built on the burnt out minds and sprits of modern Americans addicted to flashing lights and small rewards restored. The Home of the Brave is home to a largely whipped, passive population, more interested in the momentary reward of addictions than the state of their political and natural world.
Trump’s “presidency” will end when the quiet oligarchy is fed up of him. So far, they don’t care. Sessions is going to shove more citizens that he thinks are the wrong color of nationality, the people the white class likes to call “minorities” as if they were a separate species, into private prisons and the legal status of slavery. They don’t care. Trump is going to allow despoiling the land and air. Some of them are okay with that; some not. They are not ready to act on it yet. I think it is unlikely he will be allowed to build a Mexican wall; they don’t mind emotional nationalism and a symbolic wall, but a physical wall – I don’t think so. It would be an inconvenience. He will be permitted to deport poor people, sow anxiety and suffering among “Hispanic” families and murder Arabs while he steals a few hundred million dollars, which Kushner and Ivanka will in their turn bilk him out of as his mind wilts further into wittering idiocy. They don’t care. Pence can turn the supernatural fantasies he calls Christianity into crusades and inquisitions. They don’t care.
But Trump’s hyperactive madness will soon threaten something that the powerful do care about. Mercer and some Russians will withdraw their protection. Schiller will be sent out for milk. If he gets back, if he is not sent to join Luca Brasi, he will not find Trump there. He may have resigned, like Nixon. Or he may just be gone. Pence and Ryan will get the point: be careful. Be more quiet. Read the script. Learn the rules. We have had enough aggravation.
Comey might be the step too far. Preet Bharara, Sally Yates, now Comey – I think the top table of the syndicate may not want to risk another in this series.
This is here because I can’t resist it.
(c) NOLAscape, May 2017
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