Trump Consumes All the Oxygen in Washington

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Comey and Trump: Back in the news

W.J. Astore

Another day, another Trump scandal, this one stemming from a memo written by the former FBI director, James Comey, in the aftermath of a private conversation he had with the President.  According to the Comey memo, the president urged him to drop the FBI’s investigation into Michael Flynn’s ties to Russia, using these words: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go.  He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.”

Obstruction of justice?  Impeachable offense?  That’s debatable.  But the alleged conversation obviously takes on heightened meaning after Trump fired Comey, in part because of frustration with the FBI’s investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election.

It’s unclear if any crimes were committed here.  What is clear is that Trump is a poor manager of himself as well as his staff.  Flynn, with his dodgy record, should never have been hired.  Furthermore, the president should not have gone out on a limb to defend him, cajoling the FBI director, in so many words, to go easy on my guy.

Perhaps Trump’s biggest flaw is his combination of boastfulness, lack of judgment, and his ego-driven need to take charge.  He reminds me of an Air Force saying: “He’s all Mach and no compass heading.”  He’ll break the sound barrier while moving in the opposite direction to sound governance.

I wrote back in March of 2016 that candidate Trump had disqualified himself from the presidency by boasting about how America’s generals would follow his orders irrespective of their legality.  My main point was that Trump had no understanding of his Constitutional responsibilities, nor did he seem to care much about learning them.  If Comey’s memo is accurate, I think it’s another instance of Trump either not knowing or not caring about propriety, about the rule of law.

Trump’s experience in life is as a CEO of a family business.  Everyone has always worked for him; in essence, he’s been King Trump.  Even though he’s now president, he still acts like a king, making up his own rules as he goes along, not knowing a rule book already exists.

Will Trump survive his first term?  As Yoda might say, Difficult to see — always in motion the future.  One thing is certain: Trump continues to consume all the oxygen in Washington, extinguishing any hope of real progress or effective governance at the federal level.

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10 thoughts on “Trump Consumes All the Oxygen in Washington

  1. CBS Chairman Les Moonves in Feb. 2016 had this to say on Trump’s candidacy: at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco, according to The Hollywood Reporter — perfectly distilling what media critics have long suspected was motivating the round-the-clock coverage of Trump’s presidential bid.

    “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS,” he said of the presidential race.
    Moonves called the campaign for president a “circus” full of “bomb throwing,” and he hopes it continues.
    “Most of the ads are not about issues. They’re sort of like the debates,” he said.
    “Man, who would have expected the ride we’re all having right now? … The money’s rolling in and this is fun,” he said.
    “I’ve never seen anything like this, and this going to be a very good year for us. Sorry. It’s a terrible thing to say. But, bring it on, Donald. Keep going,” said Moonves.
    =====================================
    Trump is perfect for ratings and in the world of the McMega-Media nothing could be better. So we have hour after hour of program hosts and the pundits doing their level best to hype up the latest leak, or simply repeat themselves over and over again. This is one reason that if I watch TV News it is BBC, the BBC understands the world is bigger than Washington DC.

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    1. Much sound and fury. Definitely great for ratings. Not sure what it signifies, but it’s bad for the country. People have real problems that aren’t being addressed as Washington flagellates itself.

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  2. As Count Dracula said to the peasant mob tormenting him as he left his castle for a trip to New York (in the movie Love at First Bite):

    “Have your fun. But remember this. Without me, Transylvania will be as exciting as Bucharest, on a Monday night.”

    Without Donald Trump frantically pumping a few random molecules of entertainment oxygen into the intellectual and moral vacuum of the known world — i.e., Washington, D.C. — Bucharest, Romania on a Monday night would seem exciting by comparison. (No offense intended towards the probably better educated and informed Romanian people)

    The vacuum of American political life has existed for a long time now. Donald Trump didn’t create it. He simply realized how little effort and imagination it took to fill the vast empty space with his tiny little self. He hardly had any competition, after all.

    Donald Trump makes the perfect American president for this moment in time right before the giant bubble of noxious corporate/military gas explodes. Just about the only sane thing that President Trump has done: namely, the attempt at rapproachment with Russia, has earned him nothing but (anonymously leaked) vilification from America’s self-styled “ruling elites.” Sure glad I live on the opposite side of the planet where we still have plenty of oxygen.

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    1. Love at First Bite — saw that movie many, many moons ago, Mike. Forgot that line.

      Well, we’ve gone from No Drama Obama to All About Him. It is what it is, until it isn’t.

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  3. A few thoughts on the title of this article along with the two graphic images chosen to illustrte it.

    First off, if President Trump had truly “consumed all the oxygen in Washington,” then the entire town would now find itself empty of life, littered with blue-white corpses who had died of asphixiation. Instead, we see the place overpopulated with screaming, greasy-pole-climbing courtiers, beet-red in the face from not-too-little but far-too-much oxygen remorselessly forced into their little lungs by an enormous set of propaganda bellows madly pumped by the Corporate/Miltiary Media terrified of losing what few tattered shreds of credibility they still possess. Not asphyxia but hyperventilation seems the better descriptive metaphor here. Brain death normally occurs in either case, either from freezing or boiling.

    Second, the picture of J. Edgar Hoover, Jr., next to the picture of President Trump presents a false image of equivalence. Whatever one can say about President Trump’s credibility or lack thereof, the FBI (or “Furtive Bungling Idiots”) hasn’t enjoyed a reputation for apolitical “professionalism” for quite some time, if ever. But under former director James Comey in the Obama Administration, the Bureau began leaking like Niagra Falls, especially transcripts of tapped telephone conversations of American citizens like former NSA head Michael Flynn. I agree with those who maintain that President Trump should never have hired the former Army general (or any generals, for that matter). Nonetheless, having hired him Trump should not have fed him to the Beltway sharks just to buy himself a few minutes of illusory poltical space. Flynn’s blood in the water only whetted the circling sharks’ appetite for more. Michael Flynn, whatever his typical U.S. military hard-on for Iran, did nothing wrong in speaking with the Russian Ambassador. We should expect persons in our government to do that all the time as part of their jobs. That former Director Comey tried to undercut Flynn’s (and therefore, Trump’s) outreach to the Russians — probably at the behest of former President Obama and You-Know-Her’s abysmally inept election campaign — disqualifies him from instant sainthood, let alone martyrdom. If the discredited and sore-loser Democrats can’t do any better than the self-serving James Comey, then President Trump probably has little to worry about. J. Edgar Hoover himself would probably have fired James Comey for insufficiently insidious invisibility.

    Just saying …

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    1. Well, Mike, I see Trump huffing and puffing so much that barely anyone else can catch a breath. For Trump, it’s all about him. For most everyone else in Washington, it’s also all about him. People may not be expiring from asphyxiation, but thought sure is.

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      1. Regarding the latest from the “investigations” food fight in the United States right now, consider if you will part of the introductory epigram to Chapter One: “Myth in the Making,” from Democracy, Incorporated: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism, by Sheldon S. Wolin (2008):

        Robert S. Mueller III [director of the FBI] and Secretary of State Colin Powell read from the Bible. Mr. Mueller’s theme was good versus evil. “We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over the present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places,” he said, reading from Ephesians 6:12-18.

        I wouldn’t worry so much about the red-faced, screaming media group-thinkers out for President Trump’s political blood so much as I’d want to shine a high-intensity searchlight on the ones down on their knees in the dark, whispering to who-knows-whom about precisely-what. We went through that whole “higher father” horsehit with Deputy Dubya Bush out to “smite” the toothless Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, and now we’ve got yet another Creepy Christian Crusader out to vanquish metaphysical “evil” in “heavenly places” as either Special Council to the Justice Department or Principle Witchhunter in charge of rooting out either baseless partisan inuendo or the mythical “Russians” from wherever in America these “threats” happen to lurk. Much will depend upon just whom Crusader Mueller considers “good” and whom he considers “evil.” If he labels Trump good and Democrats evil, that means one thing, probably not much. If he labels the [orthodox Christian] Russians evil, that will mean something else entirely. It certainly did on the Fourth Crusade when marauding “Christian” Crusaders sacked Constantinople, the heart of Orthodox Christianity.

        This could get really nasty. I’d watch Vice President Mike Pence here. He usually serves as the code-speaking conduit to the fundamentalist Christian base of the Republican party, the ones who elected the exceedingly secular Donald Trump President of the United States. I suspect that Mr Pence had more than a little to do with Mr Mueller’s resurrection as Inquisitor General of the F.B.I.

        Now, what did those red-faced, greasy-pole climbers in Washington, D.C. have to scream about this morning? Most likely nothing that really matters. So take a deep breath, and watch the shit show unfold. As usual, the true action will take place elsewhere and out of sight.

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      2. Good points, Mike. I worry about people who are convinced of their own rectitude. And the people calling for Trump’s head: they may not like it if and when Pence takes charge. Trump may be crazy, but Pence is truly creepy.

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      3. I just stumbled across this from the Moon of Alabama blog:

        “The Democrats, and especially progressives, work against their voters interest when they pursue a Trump impeachment which would let Vice President Pence take the White House:

        Pence is a horror—fiscal sadist, misogynist, homophobe, lover of the carceral state.

        Pence is way more conservative than Trump. With Republicans in power in Congress he could easily implement all the horrific policies he ever dreamed of.

        But the borg and the Democratic leadership are not concerned about that:

        Democrats cheered the [special council] announcement as a step forward in resolving the unanswered questions about Russian meddling in last year’s presidential election — and whether the president or anyone at the White House has interfered with the investigation.

        Trump believes that better relations with Russia are important for the well-being of the United States, Pence would likely pursue an anti-Russian policy. [emphasis added]

        That, I believe, is the real issue here. There are no unbeseeming relations between Trump and Russia. Russia had little, if any, influence on the 2016 election. There was no “Russian meddling”. But Trump’s somewhat more friendly behavior towards Russia, which he campaigned for, is disliked by the-powers-that-are. [emphasis added]

        We can now expect a very long drawn special council investigation with lots of media leaks and reporting. It will drown out all other important issues. It will likely end badly for Trump and badly for peaceful global power relations.”

        Yeah. Get Trump out. Get Pence in. [Try to] put the Russians down. Then You-Know-Her might have a chance at winning against a truly unpopular Republican with media skills even worse than hers. The stupid bastards in the Democratic Party probably even believe they can pull this off. Beats the hell out of trying to reconnect with the working class voters they have betrayed for so long now.

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      4. Mike: with respect to working class voters, I always recall the words of my dad: No other truer saying than, “That the rich have no sympathy or use for the poor.”

        Especially rich politicians.

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