is simultaneously weird, upsetting and hilarious...
President Donald Trump shouldn’t agree to talk with special counsel Robert Mueller without knowing more about a man said to have approached Trump campaign aides in 2016 as part of the U.S. investigation into Russian election interference, his lawyer said Saturday.
Rudy Giuliani said Mr. Trump could be “walking into a trap” unless federal prosecutors make clear the role played by the suspected informant and whether the person compiled any “incriminating information” about Mr. Trump’s associates.
Where to begin?
This statement -- from Trump's own lawyer -- rests on the foundation that the Trump campaign really is guilty of something
. Just as there would have been no surveillance without cause, there would be no possibility of a "trap" without an actual crime.
Whatever that "something" is, it must be big. Everyone knows that you can't trap the President of the United States (or his associates) on an inconsequential or highly technical matter -- not if you hope to make the charge stick. Any such exercise would be pointless.
Republican propagandists want us to think that Mueller is somehow responsible for actions taken by the FBI long before the Mueller probe got underway. Unfortunately, the kind of people who vote for Trump tend to have difficulties with chronology. We're talking about the same people who once were convinced
that the Branch Davidian siege in Waco began under Bill Clinton. (I've seen guys become purple-faced furious when I told that the Bush administration ordered the raid -- and this was back when memories of the event were quite fresh.)
Hell, there are people out there who can't recall the date when 9/11 happened. I doubt that the poor dears could tell you whether BC or AD came first.
The propagandists have been absolutely masterful in portraying the FBI's probe as itself criminal. If the Bureau was out to get Trump for political reasons, why didn't they mention before
the election that they were investigating the guy? Trump's victory owes a lot to James Comey's selective revelations.
The "deep state" conspiracy theory -- once considered a paranoid fantasia -- has become Trump's sole defense. Trump has forced the rest of the Republican party to embrace that theory, even though many of them seem embarrassed by it. Someone once said that the myth of the Illuminati was a "scarecrow to frighten the gullible." That scarecrow -- or at least his brother -- now guards the White House.
How can we convince the populace that the scarecrow is just a scarecrow? I'm not sure that we can.
Scarecrows can be surprisingly formidable.
Adolf Hitler's power, like Trump's, was founded on conspiracy theory. The Reich Chancellery was also guarded by a scarecrow. All of fascism requires conspiracism, for the defining characteristic of the fascist is the desire to subordinate reality to the all-conquering Will, and conspiracy theory is the only weapon which can accomplish that goal.
Any "fact" which contradicts what I want to believe is a deception created by a band of malign schemers, and any person who stands in my way is part of the plot.
That statement is the quintessence of fascism. Everything else is a mere detail.
Fascism and religious fundamentalism are linked by their mutual reliance on conspiracy theory. Here in America, we've tolerated a massive network of "madrassas" -- fundamentalist Christian schools -- which taught millions of children that evolution is a hoax perpetrated by a worldwide conspiracy of Jesus-hating scientists. Although many of those children later fell away from religion, I doubt that they fell away from belief in baseless conspiracy theories. The worms of paranoia burrowed tunnels in their brains, and anything
can now fill those voids; if you grew up believing in a Darwinian conspiracy, you'll probably get suckered into accepting a global warming conspiracy.
You're also more likely to believe in an Evil Clinton Conspiracy (or perhaps an Evil Soros Conspiracy) capable of controlling the FBI. Never mind the clear evidence to the contrary: As I've argued in previous posts, elements of the FBI and the intelligence community actually helped
Trump rise to power.
The "Clinton controlled the FBI" conspiracy theory -- which few took seriously a mere year ago -- has spread like the flu after WWI. The people who buy into this nonsensical scenario never seem to notice that the very same propaganda organs spreading this story once assured them that Saddam Hussein perpetrated the 9/11 attacks. Did the New York Times or the Washington Post create that false impression? No. Fox News did. Right-wing media did.
As I've said on many previous occasions: Some conspiracies are real -- and the conspiracy theorists are the conspirators
Fascism and capitalism.
In saner times, Trump's attempt to use his office to destroy Jeff Bezos would would lead to impeachment. Trump maintains a firm hold on power even though he has alienated the world's richest man (Bezos) as well as the world's second richest, Bill Gates.
Those who consider capital to be the
all-powerful factor must now ask themselves: Why is Trump still in office if the world's wealthiest men disdain him?
Zoom out for a wider angle. Let us consider the larger topic of the relationship between fascism and capitalism.
Back in the day, the USSR party line on fascism was simple: Fascism is the final stage of capitalism. Hitler, said the Marxists, was a puppet of the large capitalists. Nazism was created for the purpose of attacking the Soviet Union.
A generation of lefties, including a great many non-communists, took this claim as gospel. I recall hearing this same analysis in a speech given in the early 1990s. For a while, I was among the seduced.
Unfortunately, this claim never had much historical merit. Most of the big capitalists in Germany supported center-right parties until very late in the game. They never really trusted Hitler; he was too uncontrollable, too ideological.
In recent times, a myth has arisen that Hitler was funded by the Bush family. Not true: The Bushes invested in the Weimar system which Hitler overthrew. In fact, the early Nazi party received much funding from American anti-Semite Henry Ford, publisher of the Protocols
and later the darling of the John Birchers. (Never forget that Alex Jones arose out of the Birch milieu.) This American money was laundered by figures within the German military who were sympathetic to Nazi idelogy.
So, yes, some
elements of Big Money supported the Nazi takeover. You can't accomplish anything without money. But for a good long time, the largest donations came from foreign
As the saying goes, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
Today, some lefties consider Trump to be just another puppet of Big Capital. If so, why is he willing to annoy both Bezos and Gates? Are there any bigger
capitalists than those two?
As in the 1920s, so too today. The Big Money funding American fascism seems to be foreign. And fascism is once again proving that it can conquer capitalism, with a little covert help from the so-called "deep state" that Trump pretends to despise.