Something must be off with my aghastitude meter, because for the life of me I just can't get excited about the ongoing saga of the FBI raid on Donald Trump's Florida estate, in search of allegedly stolen top secret classified documents.
Rumor had it that the G-Men were tipped off by an insider that Trump was hoarding the nuclear codes. This is despite numerous mainstream media reports, when he was in the White House within physical reach of the Big Red Phone, that his alarmed minions were keeping all this info out of his reckless hands. He was apparently in the habit of flushing sensitive stuff in the toilet, anyway. And besides, if he'd really wanted to sell the codes to the highest bidder, you'd think he would have struck a deal by now.
The only thing we should really fear about nuclear war is the recent reckless provocations of the United States against both Russia and China. The manufactured fear that we'd get nuked got so intense, in fact, that New York City had taken to running public service announcements about what to do in the event of Armageddon.
If you, like me, are of a certain age and vividly remember those useless classroom "duck and cover" drills during the First Cold war, you'll be happy to know that you can now save yourselves the modern way, without having to tax your knees and spine. All you have to do is go indoors and shut all your windows before lowering the blinds so that Russian or Chinese missiles won't see you. Or so that nobody else can see you either, given that you are also instructed to remove all your clothing and place it in a bag to contain radioactive dust. Then you should switch on the TV and await further instructions from experts who are sheltering in place in their network studios or underground bunkers. These instructions assume, of course, that you are not among the growing number of homeless people in the United States.
As it is right now, as I write this, turning on the TV or logging on to your favorite mainstream news site will subject you to one of two images: either a scowling Donald Trump raising his defiant fist, or numerous ground and aerial shots of Mar-a-Lago.
Given that the FBI raid and its wall-to-wall media coverage has boosted Trump ten points ahead of his closest GOP primary rival (Ron De Santis), he might consider renaming his club MAGA Largo and bragging that he is the reincarnation of that other embattled film noir hero hotelier Humphrey Bogart, holed up in his own Florida club, fighting off both the cops and the various sleazy gangsters and stool pigeons lurking about the place.
In actuality, Trump is simply the buffoon he always was. His coup attempt largely failed both because of his stupidity and lack of foresight and those of his inner circle of gangsters and stool pigeons. As historian and author (The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order) Gary Gerstle writes,
The January 6 committee has now revealed how far Donald Trump was willing to go to prevent the peaceful and lawful transfer of power from his presidency to that of Joe Biden. Yet, his deadly serious attempt to upend American democracy also had a slapdash quality to it, reflecting Trump’s own impulsive nature and his reliance on a group of schemers – Rudy Giuliani, Mike Flynn, Sidney Powell, Roger Stone and John Eastman among them – of limited ability. It is not entirely surprising that Trump’s coup failed.
Another brazen GOP action, however, has succeeded – this one engineered by the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, whose chess-like skills of political strategizing put to shame Trump’s powerful but limited game of bluster and bullying. The act to which I refer is McConnell’s theft of Barack Obama’s 2016 appointment to the supreme court, a radical deed that has dimmed somewhat in public consciousness even as it proved crucial to fashioning a rightwing supreme court willing to overturn Roe v Wade and to destabilize American politics and American democracy in the process.
So as I see it, there are several "takeaways" from both the raid and the corporate media's overwrought coverage of it. The first is that just because Trump is a doofus doesn't mean that his political rivals in the Democratic Party and the Biden Administration are all that intelligent either. Did they really think that going after him on suspicion of violating the Espionage Act and stealing papers would not boost his poll numbers, his cult of victimhood, and instigate a rightwing backlash against the rightwing FBI? Or, did they stupidly assume that the raid and possible resulting indictments would make him the ideal "pied piper" candidate for the doddering Joe Biden or other weak Wall Street candidate to easily trounce in 2024? Remember how well that cynical ploy worked out for the Dems in 2016, thanks in no small part to Bill Clinton urging Trump to run.
It seems odd that the Feds only got around to getting their search warrant a year and a half after these highly sensitive documents had gone missing. They were hiding in plain sight all along, or at least were in a secure location known to the authorities.
The whole scenario could have been lifted straight from Edgar Allan Poe's classic tale of duplicates and duplicity, The Purloined Letter, plotted around a mysterious document rumored to expose the French queen's indiscretions and thus making her and various VIPS prone to blackmail and extortion. It isn't the content or even the existence of the stolen document that matters in this story. It's the suspicion that it does matter. It's the speculation of what it contains, if it does exist. It's the assigning of any importance or meaning of the recovered (or not) document.
And we'll probably never learn about the content (or not) of Trump's purloined documents and perhaps compromising emails, photos or other intel. Censorious elites in fear of being embarrassed or compromised can and will always claim that transparency would only endanger "national security" and reward China, Russia, Iran or whatever enemy they can come up with next. Life imitates art in this case: one of the alleged documents sought and/or seized by the FBI involves the French president. Where's C. Auguste Dupin when you need him to untangle this latest mess of intra-oligarchic intrigue? Instead of the raiding FBI goons ruining Trump's day, perhaps an all-American rumpled cigar-chomping Columbo-type detective showing up at MAGA Largo HQ to flatter Trump would probably have gotten much better results than the elite army of J. Edgar Hoover has, so far anyway.
Could Trump himself have avoided all this drama if he had simply converted his palace into his official presidential library with the help of the National Archivist, as Barack Obama and others have done? Not that Obama's presidential library will contain the actual physical documents, but only an assurance that "digital" copies of same will be released, sometime in the vague and distant future. Trump's biggest offense, perhaps, is that he isn't a reader or a frequenter of libraries. He's not even offering the excuse that he is hard at work on his memoirs and thus needs copious official research material to refresh his memory and ensure accuracy, if not correct spelling or the editing out of numerous superfluous exclamation points.
Donald Trump should be the least of our worries. The Supreme Court, the CIA, McConnell, Nancy Pelosi, the White House - they are only the first villains who come to mind.
The MAGA Largo saga appears to be the Establishment's second act in the drama leading up to the November midterms, when both sides of the Duopoly would be perfectly fine with a banishment of both Trump fans and what's left of the progressive left. With the centrist liberal class's defense of both the police state, and their actual or attempted censorship of independent media voices, they have chosen to ignore that their FBI heroes also just raided the home of the leader of the African Black Socialists as well as other unnamed targets, accusing them of conspiring with Russia in order to undermine American democracy, interfere with the political process and worst of all offenses against neoliberal decency, "sow division." among citizens with their anti-war rhetoric. As reported by the World Socialist Website,
The APSP’s only activities noted in the indictment consist of holding rallies in various American cities opposing the “Genocide of African People in the United States” and making public statements denouncing US-NATO involvement in the war in Ukraine, while expressing political sympathy for Russia.
The case has all the hallmarks of a political frame-up targeting a political organization for its opposition to the US-NATO war against Russia. It points to an attempt to intimidate and criminalize opposition to the war more broadly.
It's gotten to the ridiculous point that any criticism of war and our leaders' reckless provocations of war, of censorship, and of the police state will get you labeled a Trump sympathizer or a fascist. They're gaslighting us not with expert propaganda, but with the equivalent of nitrous oxide. Their narratives are meant to manufacture fear and submission, but they're full of sound and furious silliness, signifying nothing so much as their own desperation. Their slapstick comedy would make us laugh if it weren't also so damned dangerous.
|Whaddya Say, Boys - Should We Flush It Or Steal It?|