By ann summers
It’s not a smoking gun, it’s a smoldering armory.
Shakedowns are always tests, whether evaluating a prototype or making a moral decision about the limits of trust, reputation, and wealth.
The nation may have finally reached that moment when reason may prevail over a slippery slope of compounded lies rather than interest. The nation might even say no to being shook down, and not soon enough.
The unicorn of “Fake News” is the whatabout of media discourse, where a claim of “total bias” trumps(sic) the normalized alternate facts of a POTUS45* White House. Whatabouting the media has tried to become the blood sport it has become in Russia. Americans have even accommodated that as RT/Sputnik becomes FoxNews/Breitbart’s “daddy”.
Devaluing rhetoric does not erase its promissory value and Trump has squandered US political and social capital, apparently 140 characters at a time.
We are now at a moment, perhaps even at that “tipping point” where the crony capitalism normalized at national scales under colonialism and imperialism, has become assimilated into the world system and the governance of kleptocrats has finally come up against democratic rule.
Lord Dampnut has shown himself to be a second rate apprentice compared to Putin because of democratic processes and even a public sphere. Trump’s failure comes from his willing sacrifice of the republic for personal gain. Similarly, the GOP has succumbed to picking up the vigorish of his racketeering and extortion, even as his AHCA threats to the GOP caucus now resemble a gangster’s threat to break limbs.
If there can be a “democratic capitalism” that can rehabilitate a failed neoliberalism, it should appear soon in the form of plea bargaining. And there will be Trump team defections with subsequent revelations.
Trump’s bagmen are now being hemmed in and these people dressed as they are, have come to the legal marketplace of America … let’s make a deal.
As The New York Times reported after Comey’s testimony:
“Mr. Comey placed a criminal investigation at the doorstep of the White House and said officers would pursue it ‘no matter how long that takes.’ ”
The lie these people promoted about Clinton and shielded about Trump are two of the biggest lies ever told in this country in service of electoral advantage.
No act of this presidency — good or bad, beneficial or detrimental — can ever be considered without first contextualizing that this presidency itself was conceived in deception and is being incubated under an extraordinary lie.
Whataboutism is a term describing a propaganda technique used by the Soviet Union in its dealings with the Western world during the Cold War. When criticisms were levelled at the Soviet Union, the response would be “What about…” followed by the naming of an event in the Western world. It represents a case of tu quoque (appeal to hypocrisy), a logical fallacy that attempts to discredit the opponent’s position by asserting the opponent’s failure to act consistently in accordance with that position, without directly refuting or disproving the opponent’s initial argument.
There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What do you think — our country’s so innocent?”
And so Donald Trump once again rushed to Vladimir Putin’s defense. Trump’s comments to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly this weekend closely echoed a 2015 conversation with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, in which Scarborough observed that Putin “kills journalists that don’t agree with him,” and Trump replied: “Well, I think that our country does plenty of killing, too.”
Apparently when someone calls Putin a killer, Trump’s response is to call Americans killers. It’s a chilling thing that our own president doesn’t seem to know or value that, in America, we don’t kill journalists or political opponents like Putin does.
But I want to focus on a different aspect of Trump’s remarks.
As others have noted, Trump isn’t simply embracing Putin’s preferred talking points. He’s adopting Putin’s favorite propaganda device — a refurbished Soviet tactic that Edward Lucas, who spent years as the Economist’s bureau chief in Russia, named “whataboutism.” foreignpolicy.com/…
Trump has in the constant iteration of the whatabout technique, now confused the normative and normalization, most recently in his ham-fisted attempt to parley his recent visit with Robert Kraft into an attack on Colin Kaepernick. The obvious goal was to divert the impeachment meme by exciting the dull sameness of Trumpian racial animus projected onto a sports entertainment medium.
The US Secret Service, funded by the US taxpayer, is reported to have spent $12,208 on rental ski equipment and clothing at the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Club.