The Disco Ball of Trump-Comey

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Not them again.

W.J. Astore

An astute Bracing Views reader described the Trump-Comey-Russia hearings as “the audio version of a glittering disco ball,” which captures the moment.  Sure, there’s lots of flash there, but the real problems of the USA are being very much ignored.  Put differently, it’s hard to hear any real news when the thump-thump-thump of Trump-Comey-Russia drowns out all other voices.

I’ve already said my piece (at TomDispatch.com) about some of the big problems that face our country, so indulge me for a moment as I consider the disco inferno of Trump-Comey.

My take: Trump wanted loyalty, Comey didn’t promise that, nor should he have. Trump, it seems, also felt upstaged by Comey (not only because the former FBI Director is taller than Trump and more vigorous). Comey, in short, was uncooperative, not one of Trump’s guys, so he fired him.  As president, Trump has that power.

Was it a smart move?  No.  Does it look bad?  Yes, especially the timing. Is it obstruction of justice?  Apparently not, since the various Russia-Trump investigations are progressing.  (To my knowledge, there are at least three of them ongoing.)

More than anything, Comey’s testimony makes Trump look like a dick (to use a technical term). But we already knew that.  Trump’s been posing (it didn’t require acting) as a dick for years on TV, taking great relish in saying, “You’re fired!” to a range of has-been celebrities. Should we really be surprised that Trump is acting like a dick as president? Even his followers knew he was a dick; they just thought he was their dick.

Did Trump collude with Russia?  Of course he did!  He admitted it himself. Remember when Trump called for the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton — to find her “thirty thousand” missing emails, ha ha!  That may not be the legal definition of collusion, but if you heard that and refused to consider that Candidate Trump’s encouragement of hacking by a foreign power in an election for his benefit was wrongful, well, so be it. Those Americans who voted for Trump were apparently untroubled by it.

I’m not defending Trump.  The man is a menace to the world, with his denial of global warming/climate change, his embrace of nuclear weapons, his cocksureness fed by his ignorance, the list goes on.  But, based on the evidence that’s been presented so far, he’s done nothing that reaches an impeachable offense.  Major league dick status, yes. Impeachment?  Not yet.  Or Nyet.

The biggest problem with Trump is not that he’s a Russian stooge. It’s that he’s not presidential.  He doesn’t understand public service.  It’s utterly foreign to him, not just because he has no experience of it but because it’s contrary to his egocentric personality.

Look at his priorities as president.  (They are the same as they were when he was a real estate developer.) #1 for Trump is Trump. #2 for Trump is his immediate family, joined by a few trusted lackeys, toadies, and sycophants. #3 for Trump is his money, his position in society, and his reputation among his peers and fellow billionaires, those “masters of the universe,” to use Tom Wolfe’s phrase.

Make America great again?  That’s never been Trump’s priority.  Make Trump greater and greater?  That’s more like it.

Trump is fulfilling his version of the American dream.  Too bad it’s a nightmare for America.

9 thoughts on “The Disco Ball of Trump-Comey

  1. Interesting analogy; Trump/Comey & discotheques. All superficial and overpriced. My kudos to Rubell & Schranger though, founders of Studio 54. Red blooded capitalists! Both in the slammer for tax evasion, The Donald outside crying to bankruptcy courts for debt relief, one questions whose the “socialist”*? (*Using unfair laws to save oneself from foolish investments.)
    One should also question who cost Americans more: rich, coke snorting dancers, or judges paid to allow suppliers to be stiffed while “bankrupt” Trump leaves in a limousine, returning to his penthouse?

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  2. When Gerry Ford was trying to get Byron White impeached, he said that “An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history.” The standard is subjective. Conversely, no offense is impeachable if the majority decline to act on it.

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  3. Trump-Comey-Russia hearings (Disco Ball) will be given a big spin by the McMega-Media to provide a glittering distraction and ratings.

    I agree with your analysis concerning Trump’s priorities. It is all about Trump lining his pockets or family pockets one way or another. Mean while the regulatory arm of the government, which is supposed to protect and defend us from steroid capitalism will be dismantled. But, keep your eye on the glittering disco ball.

    Not so oddly enough, we know that the Podesta Group (founded by John Podesta’s brother, Tony) lobbied for Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank. John Podesta is the former chairman of the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign. “The New York office of Sberbank CIB indeed hired Podesta Group. Engagement of external consultants is part of standard business practices for us,” Sberbank said. The Podesta Group charged Sberbank $20,000 per month, plus expenses, on a contract from March through September 2016, totaling $170,000.

    Adding to the sleaze factor in our 2016 election was the near ultimate in chaos theory – Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch just happen to meet up in an airport at the same time in Arizona in June 2016.

    Eugene Debs, said, “The Republican and Democratic parties, or, to be more exact, the Republican-Democratic party, represent the capitalist class in the class struggle. They are the political wings of the capitalist system and such differences as arise between them relate to spoils and not to principles

    Some non-partisan type may write a book in the future about the 2016 election. It will not be pretty.

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    1. Thanks for the needed balance. From what I have read, Mr Comey’s testimony didn’t go over so well, even with the entire political and media establishment hoping, wishing, dreaming, and praying that something, anything, would turn up to boost ratings, attract advertiser (and billionaire donor) dollars, while keeping the public attention distracted from the real problems facing the country. It didn’t help his professional reputation, either, when he fingered himself as the source of so many Trump damaging leaks to select media outlets. Let’s see: You slime your new boss from the safety of he shadows. He asks you to stop doing that. You keep it up. He fires you. Anything difficult to understand here?

      Thanks, as well, for the quote from Eugene Debs, a true man of the people. It pretty much focuses on the real issues of concern to the greasy-pole climbers infesting our nation’s capital: namely, who gets the cushy, career-boosting jobs and who doesn’t. “To the victor belong the spoils,” someone once said; or, as former Vice President Dick Cheney preferred to put it: “We won the elections. This is our due.” As for those who lost, they get to seethe in helpless frustration after investing a billion dollars in You-Know-Her’s lousy, stupid campaign (running to the right of the Republicans in a left-leaning country) and seeing it come to nothing. Wasting a billion dollars and all the media power that the political establishment could provide. That really hurts. But, hey, the Russians must have done something. That would explain everything.

      Yes, I do think that Mr Comey flopped. Kind of hard not to, when the Russians didn’t do anything and a failure to examine the DNC servers for evidence of hacking makes Mr Comey look like not much of a police investigator. What a disappoining dork. I understand that not even Senator Marco Rubio could go along with this farce of an “investigation.” When even “little Marco” (as candidate Trump named him) jumps ship, it looks like time to lower the lifeboats, so to speak.

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  4. Please permit me an analysis of the following passage from the above article which I find problematic on many levels. I quote:

    “Did Trump collude with Russia? Of course he did! He admitted it himself. Remember when Trump called for the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton — to find her “thirty thousand” missing emails, ha ha! That may not be the legal definition of collusion, but if you heard that and refused to consider that Candidate Trump’s encouragement of hacking by a foreign power in an election for his benefit was wrongful, well, so be it. Those Americans who voted for Trump were apparently untroubled by it.”

    First, I take exception to the term “collude,” which means “to come to a secret understanding for a harmful purpose; conspire.” The use of such loaded language raises two immediate questions: (1) When did Donald Trump during his election campaign ever make the slightest secret of his interest in co-operating with Russia in areas where our mutual interests converge? (2) For what “harmful purpose” did candidate Trump propose cooperation with Russia? Surely the author does not presume to tell us that the political defeat of the noxious You-Know-Her constitutes a “harmful purpose.” Harmful to her candidacy, perhaps, but so what? In contested elections people choose up sides and vote to put their tribe and its leader in power. Someone wins. Someone loses. Then, two years later, another election happens. And so on and so forth. We have a name for it: “Democracy” (or as close to it as the Ruling Corporate Oligarchy ever lets Americans get).

    So, to recapitulate the main points here: (1) candidate Trump did nothing in secret and (2) defeating a political opponent in an open election does not constitute a “harmful purpose,” but a democratic one. So much for the loaded emotional baggage connoted by the illegitimate term “collusion.” Try “cooperation,” instead, and the whole passge reads much less melodrammatically.

    Additionally, candidate Trump didn’t “admit” anything, as if apologizing for some trangression. For candidate Trump, his proposed policy of detent with Russia made simple common sense. It still does. Candidate Trump quite unapologetically made his Russia policy of detente one of the major programmatic differences with you-Know-Her who thought “getting tough” on the Russians would endear her to right-wing Republican suburbanites. The voters in a majority of states, in case some persons have forgotten already, chose Donald Trump in part because of his Russia policy. He made no secret of it. He made no apologies for it, nor need he have done so. You-Know-Her tried to vilify him for it, openly calling Trump “Putin’s puppet.” It didn’t sell. No one really believed anything of the sort. If only Trump had believed in his policy enough to stand and fight for it.

    Sorry to go on at such length, but the above passage raises still more issues that invite analysis. In the interest of accuracy, we should note that “it takes two to tango,” or to cooperate (as in “work together”) in any joint endeavor. As a matter of fact, candidate Trump publicly invited the Russians to hack into You-Know-Her’s pathetically secured bathroom server — since anyone with a cell phone and a WI-FI connection could probably do this — but that does not mean that the Russians took him up on his challenge which, to them, would smell like a baited trap. So an invitation on Trump’s part implies no agreement to do anything on Russia’s part, unless one assumes that the Russians had no choice but to interpret Trump’s wishes as commands that they could not possibly disobey. Unfortunately for the “scary Russian monster” crowd, such an arrangement would make the Russians look like Trump’s puppets and not the other way around. So much for the “foreign power” that cannot even decide for itself whom to hack and not hack but needs an American political rookie and tv-game-show host to publicly demand that Russia commit journalism (a crime in the United States) by providing American voters with information about their prospective candidates so that these voters might reach an informed conclusion about whom they want to elect.

    In other words, and finally, why should anyone care who tells them the truth? The truth doesn’t change depending upon the messinger who delivers it, unless one subscribes to the Orwellian concept of “reality control.” I don’t think that the Russians did anything to interfere in American elections, but to whatever extent the Russians want to share the truth with us Americans — about anything — then I have only one thing to say to them — “Thank You. A friend in need is a friend indeed.”

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    1. Michael.

      Excellent analysis x 2. I scratch my head in amazement thinking the Democrat/Left establishment wishes us toward a shooting war with Russia. It seems to me there are already more than enough bad guys to go around.

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    2. Mike: I have nothing against closer relations with Russia. Cooperation, yes. But is that what Trump is about? While a candidate, Trump called on a foreign power to intervene in an American election for his benefit. Let’s change the names slightly. Let’s say Hillary called on the Polish government and people to find Trump’s “missing” tax returns. And to publish them. Would we call that act “cooperating” with Poland? Praise Hillary for her prudent policy of working with the Poles? Praise the Poles for practicing journalism?

      Encouraging any foreign power to hack, i.e. illegally search and seize, your political opponent’s records is irresponsible at the very least. I don’t care who your opponent is.

      What Trump exhibited here is his lack of judgment, his egocentrism, and his lack of respect for the electoral process. Sorry, I don’t think this is defensible.

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      1. Thanks for the reply, Bill, but I expected better. Unfortunately, you seem to have missed several of the key points I made, even though I spent several hours trying diligently to put them in coherent, organized English. If you can do no better by way of rebuttal than to keep invoking the awful “foreign power” specter in a lame attempt to intimidate discussion, then I don’t see why I should have to repeat what I have already said. Why can’t you just say “Russia” if you mean Russia? Why the resort to semantic innuendo? Why do you feel the need to brandish that lame “foreign power” thing in our faces. We’ve had about nine straight months of it now and I, for one, have grown quite sick of it.

        And why can’t you stick to the known facts? Wikileaks, not Russia, obtained and published the DNC and Podesta e-mails, and much else of note besides. You know, Wikileaks, that “foreign power” consisting of an Australian, Julian Assange, holed up for years in a little room in the Ecuadorian embassy in London with the U.S. and every Western government trying to shut him up and throw him and a dungeon somewhere. You want to talk about a “foreign power”? Call it the Truth: real information based on real facts, about as foreign a power as any you will find in the United States today. Nothing scares the shit out of American politicians like the people finding out what they have said and done while living like royalty off the public purse. If the United States actually had any practicing journalists worthy of the name, instead of corporate stooge stenographers, it wouldn’t need “foreign powers” like Julian Assange and Wikileaks to provide the U.S. electorate with the information we require to make reasoned decisions about whom to elect and whom to reject.

        So let me make this as simple to understand as possible. I do not concede that candidates for public office — and especially public officials once elected — have any right to a “private” life. If they want a private life with all the Fourth Amendment protections that our Constitution (in theory) provides, then they can remain private citizens. As a private citizen, Donald Trump had every right to protect the privacy of his personal finances from public scrutiny. But as a candidate for President, he had no right to withhold that information from the voting public, since examples of self-dealing and personal profiteering by public officials goes so far back in history that “trusting” these people with political power does not merit a moment’s serious consideration. Secrecy begets incompetence, malfeasance, and corruption. It always has. It always will. So declassify everything. Let the people know. In short: To hell with government secrecy. Leak everything, just like former FBI director James Comey has admitted doing when it suited his political purposes. As John Milton said in his famous speech to Parliament against the proposed licencing (i.e., censoring) of books:

        “Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?”

        Again, sticking to the facts, someone did get their hands on at least a portion of candidate Trump’s tax records and selectively leaked them to MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow — and ardent champion of You-Know-Her’s sputtering campaign — who did all the damage to Trump that she could. I didn’t feel sorry for him. He had it coming for claiming that the normal rules of public disclosure did not apply to him. Taking up your red-herring example of Poland as a putative “colluding” hacker-partner for You-Know-her’s campaign, I can’t prove that the Russophobic Poles had anything to do with obtaining Trump’s tax records — of great value to You-Know-Her’s dreary and dreadful campaign — but it wouldn’t matter if they had. As long as somebody got the information out into the public domain. And I certainly do not recall the You-Know-Her campaign coming to the defense of Donald Trump’s “right to privacy.” The leaks benefitted You-Know-Her, certainly, and so her campaign wished to take maximum advantage of them. For their part, the Polish government absolutely loathes the Russians and will do anything to discredit them in the eyes of the American public. So it would not surprise me in the least if Poland tried to “interfere” in our “elections” so as to “influence” their outcome in favor of anyone but Donald Trump with his policy of detente with Russia which the Poles — along with the Pentagon and CIA — wish to torpedo in any way that they can.

        So, to recapitulate: (1) candidates for public office and public officials have no right to an expectation of “privacy.” (2) The American public has the Constitutionally guaranteed right to know everything that their government does. (3) The corporate media mega-cartel will not permit the practice of independent invesigative journalism by us Americans, so “foreign powers” like Wikileaks will have to do the necessary work for us. Let us thank these “foreign powers” and not malign them. Without Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning, and a handful of other genuine truth tellers, we Americans wouldn’t know doodley squat about our corrupt and criminal government. Frankly, we Americans need all the help from abroad that we can get. We won’t get any favors from the Ruling Corporate Oligarchy at home. So, if political candidates like Donald Trump or You-Know-Her wish to solicit “foreign powers” to practice journalism in the United States for the edification of American voters, then I find that eminently defensible. After all, what have you got against the truth that you think it matters who tells it to you? Focus on content. Leave the sliming of unwelcome messengers to others. Frankly, i expect better of you.

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      2. Mike: I’m not afraid to say “Russia.” In fact I did say Russia. But I used “foreign power” to denounce any appeal to any foreign country by U.S. political candidates, especially when that appeal is both selfish and an invitation to activity that may constitute a crime.

        As you say, let’s stick to the facts. Candidate Trump called on a foreign power, in this case Russia, to hack and find Hillary’s missing emails. I think this is wrong, whether Trump had called on Russia, Sweden, or Fiji.

        People who hold public office do surrender some of their privacy, but I don’t believe they surrender all of it. For a healthy life, people deserve some measure of privacy, no matter their position. That said, I agree that we need far fewer secrets in the USA, and far more transparency.

        It’s your opinion, of course, that my arguments are lame, that they are attempts to intimidate, and that I can assuredly do better. And you are entitled to that opinion.

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