Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Come(d)y Hour

FBI Director James Comey wasn't merely fired. He was "terminated" and then removed from office.

Just look at the wording of Donald Trump's announcement. It has all the despotic flair of an execution order for a previously coddled apparatchik who has deeply, deeply disappointed his Leader. It is also deeply, deeply cowardly, since the Leader himself takes no responsibility for his own decision.

"You are hereby terminated and removed from office, effective immediately," Trump passively dictated in a scene reminiscent of Pontius Pilate washing his hands of the whole sordid mess.

In a further parody of the New Testament, the part that has Peter the Apostle denying any knowledge of Jesus Christ on three separate occasions, Trump perversely reminds Comey that he had denied knowledge of any Trumpian wrongdoing on three separate occasions.

Trump, who can never resist covering his own tender ass, has essentially made a veiled threat, thanking the FBI in advance for keeping its hands off him. In consigning the FBI director to the proverbial gallows as the latest scapegoat, he is sending a mafia-style message to Comey's successor. 

Comey has finally outlived his usefulness. He'd made the mistake of trying to play both sides of the Uniparty off against each other instead of, say, prosecuting Wall Street criminals. He should have just resigned last summer, after the airport tarmac meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and President Bill Clinton made him the fall guy. He displeased the Republicans by not indicting Hillary Clinton and he displeased the Democrats by gratuitously lecturing Hillary about her reckless stupidity.

 Barack Obama, who himself had cravenly risen above the fray in order to avoid the pitfalls of actual leadership, conveniently flew out of the country on a private jet this week to lecture the rest of world about healthy eating and climate change.

"You get the politicians you deserve," Obama cynically schmoozed in Milan to an audience full of sated plutocrats who'd paid 850 euros apiece for the privilege of being reassured.

Meanwhile, to make the Comey saga a thriller in true Grand Guignol style for the folks back home, it was Trump's personal private bodyguard - not Secret Service personnel - who delivered the execution order to FBI Headquarters. Comey himself reportedly learned his fate from news bulletins just as he was giving a schmoozy speech of his own in Los Angeles. He wasn't talking to the wealthy political donor class, of course, but to the public-private law enforcement community tasked with protecting and absolving the wealthy donor class. It has long been Comey's job to foment fear of Terrorists in basements in order to deflect attention from the rampant white collar/corporate crime spree and deferred prosecution agreements with the Department of Justice.

To make the Comey story even more gruesomely delicious, Trump's publicity flack took media questions in the virtual shadows, cowering near or behind a bush on the White House lawn after he ordered all the camera lights turned off. "I know nothink," was his standard reply to a barrage of questions. "Spicey" deliberately gave the media something even more exciting to write about and to speculate about. Did Sean Spicer wet his pants? Is Sean Spicer on drugs? Does Saturday Night Live desperately need more funny material?

Are the Democrats and their veal pen offshoots in a renewed frenzy of email fundraising?  First they wanted Comey fired, now they say he was fired for the wrong reasons. Click here to prove you are a good citizen who demands the right reasons!

  Something has infiltrated what's still left of our democracy, all right, but it sure isn't Putin. This is all about two ruling class factions battling each other in a massive power struggle that has little or nothing to do with the needs and desires of ordinary people. It's the dregs of democracy and the spoils of the whole world which are still very much up for grabs.

Have you noticed how Obama and Hillary Clinton are now re-positioning themselves not just as national leaders, but as world leaders and elite influence-peddlers? As far as finance capital is concerned, there are no borders. Populism - which in their neoliberal world, means the looming threat of actual people demanding such nice things as survival - is Public Enemy Number One to the "centrist" global plutocracy. Why else would cool, calm, above-the-fray Obama be interfering in foreign politics and openly endorsing an investment banker in the French elections? Why else would Hillary be chronically "submitting" to interviews conducted by fellow members of the private ruling class club known as the Council on Foreign Relations? (Google the list, and look for Nicholas Kristof, Christiane Amampour and Andrea Mitchell.)

Meanwhile, the collapse of a crumbling tunnel on top of a huge toxic pile of nuclear waste in Washington State is going largely unnoticed and unreported. Ditto for the insane escalation of the war in Afghanistan. Ditto for the looming famine in Yemen.

Situation hopeless but not serious. The radiation is contained, because opioid addict and Energy Secretary Rick Perry said it is. The terror is contained, because the imminent deployment of 5,000 more American terrorists will "break the deadlock." The peasants are contained because the plutocrats are droning and starving and drugging poor people to death all over the world.

 Everybody move along, nothing to see or hear or get excited about except the latest sordid plot twist in Palace Intrigue Theater. If you didn't catch last night's episode, cleverly titled Tuesday Night Massacre, then you haven't been paying attention. Heaven forbid that you haven't picked your favorite character yet, or a side to root for in what amounts to a permanent political campaign.

Stay tuned while we pause for another commercial break brought to you by Big Oil and Big Pharma. Grab the popcorn before the mainstream media hauls out the next panel of fact-checkers and spell-checkers and virtue-signalers and knee-jerkers and paid lobbyists.  Because Donald Trump has just burped out another inane Tweet to save everybody from engaging in any actual thought.


Jay–Ottawa said...

Last summer Comey gave a speech without first getting clearance to open his mouth about a campaign issue. The speech offended everybody, especially the Clintons. Then Comey did it all over again a couple of weeks before Hillary's coronation.

Obama didn't fire Comey (with an elegant memo, picture-frame ready) when he could have because that would have looked so partisan and, as already mentioned, Obama floats above the fray and was not then, is not now, nor has he ever been a partisan. Which explains why the Dems lost 1000 offices at all levels of government while Obama was the titular head of the party. Obama's touring other countries, you say? Now there's a profile in courage. Which country on his itinerary will be the first to arrest him and drop him off on the doorstep of the ICC in The Hague?

The reason Trump fired Comey is not because he screwed up on Trump's watch. Comey lost his job because he's a certified loose cannon. No telling how he would have––as he surely would have eventually in his usual even-handed way––bungled another big play and turned Trump's orange hair gray before the end of the first term.

Carol S. said...

My theory - Comey is six foot eight, the tallest FBI Director in history, with hands of proportional dimension. Just how can the six foot two, otherwise inadequately endowed Trump compete for four years in that arena?

Jay–Ottawa said...

@ Carol

A hit, a palpable hit, right out of the ballpark. Cheers.