About those “tapes”

Most comments I’ve seen regarding the Comey-Trump confrontation make sense, more or less. Most, I say. However, one straightforward and — to me — perfectly obvious factor seems to have been ignored. Or perhaps it’s so obvious it doesn’t need to be mentioned.

You decide.

After firing FBI Director Comey, President Trump sent a rather odd early-morning tweet. (I know, I know, all his tweets are rather odd. But this one seemed even more so.) On the remote possibility that you’ve not heard, it was

James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.

Consider now. James Comey was a career FBI agent, one so hard working and competent he had been promoted to head the Bureau. A man, then, whom we might expect to be keenly aware of intelligence matters. Spy stuff, not to put to corny a title on it. He knew about and — only surmising here but pretty confident nonetheless — might have participated in covert activities. Like, say, secret recording. I mean, he might at least have heard about the practice, right?

So this man with this background has a coversation with the man then regarded as President of the United States.

Still with me?

Intelligence guy, meeting in White House, talking to President. Does he go in aware that his conversation might be recorded, or does he assume such a thing would never happen and blab carelessly about anything that comes to mind?

With that in mind, does Trump’s threat really make sense?

Even to Trump?

He man is even farther off reality’s base than I thought.

Reading as a dangerous activity

I made a pretty serious mistake in reading this morning. It was an article by Andrew Bacevich at TomDispatch, one of the sites I recommend in the side bar. So why, you may reasonably ask, was it a mistake to read something which — presumably — I would recommend that you read?

Well, it was all in the timing. See, I had just finished reading a very good book, The Brothers, by Stephen Kinzer. Good as in scary good. Because it will — in retrospect anyway — scare the pants off you. Why? Here’s a lift from the NYTimes review.

Anyone wanting to know why the United States is hated across much of the world need look no farther than this book. The Brothers is a riveting chronicle of government-sanctioned murder, casual elimination of “inconvenient” regimes, relentless prioritization of American corporate interests and cynical arrogance on the part of two men who were once among the most powerful in the world.

Which brothers? John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen.

The book came out more than three years ago, and clearly for all that it is well-written, carefully documented and widely available it seems to have made no significant impression on anyone connected with the US Government.

The mistake reading Bacevich? He only emphasized so many of the horrendous parts of The Brothers. Nonetheless — or maybe it should be “therefore” — I suggest you read one or the other. Both if you can, but not too close together. Enough to make your head hurt. And if I may say so without veering into religiosity, to make your soul hurt as well.

If you aren’t already pissed off…

Bear with me a moment. This whole spying-disrupting-electing-bugging-dissembling-swaggering-accusing thing makes my head go funny inside. And hurt. Really hurt.

Wading through or trying to walk around in as much of the story as the rational mind can assimilate, I come down at last to one question. Well, to a lot of questions, but one of them seems obvious and I don’t understand when it hasn’t been asked before.

Given:

  • The Russians did in some manner attempt to influence the 2016 Presidential election.
  • Several individuals and committees and boards of inquiry have been probing the extent and possible consequences of that Russian interference.
  • Said individuals/committees/boards are in agreement that something happened but they can’t report on what they have found out.
  • They also agree that they have not had access to all presumably extant information.

Conclusion:

Somebody or somebodies somewhere are sitting on and apparently refusing to tell what they know. Rather, what they knew and when.

Question(s):

Somebody knew some very important shit way back probably as much as a year, information pertinent to and possibly destructive of our democratic processes.

  • So how come aforementioned somebodies did not speak out back then?
  • Is it not the purpose of gathering national intelligence to apply what is discovered to the advantage of the nation?
  • Why, to cut to the chase, did various security agencies not inform us: the public, the press, the government what was going on?

And right this very minute — 10:42 AM MONDAY — with the sort of timing you find only in the most cheesy of spy novels, comes a bulletin from The New York Times. FBI Director James Comey has “publicly confirmed an investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election and whether associates of the president were in contact with Moscow.

 

 

Hell of a way to run a railroad

If you’re in need of head-scratching material, try an on-line search for differences between “democracy” and “republic.”

Once you’ve decided how they differ, consider which one accurately describes what we — the USA — are. A casual read of the material, and a somewhat-less-casual fit of head-scratching led me to categorize us as two different places, trying to co-exist.

As is linguistically inevitable, Republicans follow in Republic’s footsteps, and Democrats in Democracy’s. So are we — in our political thinking — captives of casual nomenclature? What would happen if the two parties were called, say, the Fizzies and the Bubbles? Might we then find it easier to reach accord, to come to agreement, to resolve differences?

Please do not fritter away any more time here. I’m just rambling and figeting, trying to ignore all the media accounts of strange behavior on the part of those in power. But I cannot ignore them, of course. For one thing, they seem to imply that we are neither democracy or republic.

We are somewhere between kingdom and plutocracy.

The ratings machine, etc

The more I watch and listen — to the main-stream media and friends and neighbors — the more certain I become of two factors in the last election.

  1. Trump did not win. Clinton lost. Her loss stemmed from two distinct but interrelated factors. One was her connection to — read: friendship and reliance on — big banks. The other comes from her casual dismissal of “deplorables.” It was not the specific quote, it was what having used that word revealed about her attitude toward millions of US citizens.
  2. It is — or will be at least for the first few months — counterproductive to make fun of Trump’s egomaniacal presentation. Mock his zeal for — and his success in gaining — the limelight and the headline, that splashy monomania is a big part of what makes him attractive. We’d like to think we had a President who was above tweeting at 3 am about his particular talent — “DJT the ratings machine” — but look, that’s exactly it. Ratings. Viewers. We might as well have elected one of the Kardashians.

Well, maybe I won’t go that far.

The penny drops…

We should have recognized what was going on, shouldn’t we? I mean, why else would a man like that do such improbable things — and do them so badly — if he really wanted the job?

Whatever else we may say about him, even if it’s good, the underlying — oops, accidental insult there — image is Harold Hill, not Abraham Lincoln. So why did we….

It’s too embarrassing to go on. Just get ready for it. Come the Ninth of November, when he gets national, even international attention for a big public announcement, he’ll acknowledge that, yes, Mrs. Clinton will indeed be President. He, for his part, will be starring in a brand-new TV series called…

I don’t know for sure. But it will be great. No, make that GREAT. And everyone will laugh. Except GOP leaders and a bunch of down-ballot candidates swept away in the flood.

Maybe it won’t be so bad after all.

Then again, maybe it will. My early-morning bright-eyed self wrote the above. My mid-morning post-coffee wide-awake self is writing this.

Coffee does stimulate the brain.

Maybe I’ll feel better about it if I go back to bed.