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Friday, May 12, 2017

A piece of tape -- or: Welcome to Kompromat Kountry

In an act of blatant thuggery unprecedented in the history of his office, Trump tweeted:
James Comey better hope that there are no 'tapes' of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.
Every time I think that Donnie can no longer shock us, he shocks us. It is hard to argue that this tweet does not meet the legal definition of extortion.

With this statement, Trump admits that he believes in governance by kompromat, as has become the norm in Russia. If one of Putin's underlings defies him, Russians can expect to see video of said underling's sexual escapades on television. If Trump defies Putin, the world will either see the pee-pee tape or (more likely) will learn the unsavory details of Trump's finances.

Such is the world we now inhabit.

Josh Marshall has opined that any such "tape" is fictitious. Sorry, but he's guilty of wishful thinking. Everything in Trump's history proves that he thinks and acts like a mob boss -- and a mob boss would not issue such a threat without possessing something to back it up.

Of course, that something might not be an actual recording: It could be the knowledge that Comey said something in private that he might not want the world to know. In other words, the tweet exists to press Comey's paranoia button: "Was I or was I not on Candid Camera?"

Comey has said that he is "not worried about any tapes." Not a reassuring statement. One would expect a proud man to say "I'm not worried" even if he's hyperventilating with angst. Ignore the words; heed the actions:
The source said Comey is likely not going to testify next week to Senate intelligence. As of Friday morning, Comey had not responded to the request.
Translation: He's worried.

LBJ used to say that "I don't trust a man unless I have his pecker in my pocket." That's how Trump operates: A pocket full of peckers. That's why Trump kept Comey on for so long: At some point, a pecker was pocketed.

And that's why we cannot trust any replacement Trump chooses. The new guy -- whoever he is, however impressive his credentials may seem -- will also have a "pocketed pecker problem."

That's also why we cannot trust either the House or Senate intelligence committees. James Jesus Angleton once said that if the CIA couldn’t find out its own future from tapping the Hill, it had no business being in intelligence. Russell Tice of the NSA (used as a source by the NYT) once said:
They went after–and I know this because I had my hands literally on the paperwork for these sort of things–they went after high-ranking military officers; they went after members of Congress, both Senate and the House, especially on the intelligence committees and on the armed services committees and some of the–and judicial.

But they went after other ones, too. They went after lawyers and law firms. All kinds of–heaps of lawyers and law firms. They went after judges. One of the judges is now sitting on the Supreme Court that I had his wiretap information in my hand. Two are former FISA court judges.

They went after State Department officials. They went after people in the executive service that were part of the White House–their own people.
There is, in fact, a long history of the intelligence services spying on members of the intelligence committee.

But the problem isn't just our own spooks. It's the FSB. It's private firms like Cambridge Analytica, owned by Trump's funder, billionaire idealogue Robert Mercer.

Why do so many Republican congresscritters continue to enable Trump, even though most of them can't stand the guy, and even though most of them would much rather deal with Pence? Kompromat. I cannot prove it, but I am personally convinced that their otherwise-mystifying loyalty to this embarrassing oaf has little to do with ideology. It's all a matter of carrots and sticks: The carrot of cash and the stick of extortion.  

I don't know why liberals speak as though this is the beginning of the end for Trump. It's the beginning of the end of democracy. Welcome to a brutish new era of primal criminality. Welcome to Kompromat Kountry.

Cute, eh? The White House claimed that Comey had lost the respect of the rank and file -- yet Trump himself dare not visit FBI headquarters.

Source E. When another Twitter user asked  "Is "Source E" Epshteyn?", Claude Taylor responded: "That's "A" for Affirmative."

Is it permissible to remind the world that this humble blog was the very first political website to identify Ephsteyn as the likeliest candidate, way back in January?

Claude Taylor is now tweeting
Everyone needs to be patient. You may not see it but the process that will end with Trump's resignation or impeachment has begun.
Yeah, but. A couple of days ago he was acting as if IT -- whatever "it" may be -- was going to hit very, very soon. Didn't a guy named Aesop once write a story about a boy and a wolf? The "spooks against Trump" should re-read that story.
Boy am I glad I'm a boring nobody. Kompromat on me would be along the lines of "...picks nose - not always in private - and takes occasional laxative. May be losing ability to spell." If only our esteemed elected official were so lacking in complexity!
If things continue to move at this pace, by the time someone produces a software showing the actual hacking of election even Hillary will say meh.
All I can say is I fear you're right.
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