Herewith, unorganized responses to a slew of comments provoked by my recent posts.
Tom, Avenatti gets his stuff – bank records, Cohen’s deals with corporations, etc. – from huge numbers of people who are sending him things they are privy to as low level bank employees and the like. This is crowdsourced leaking, and it is simply unstoppable. He has become an instantly recognizable media star, apparently. People stop him on the street to thank him. I think I have read that he is a rather successful lawyer who has won some big cases [and thereby picked up some big fees.] As a not too secret anarchist, I revel in this demonstration of the power of ordinary people to disrupt the plans of the rich and powerful. Back in ’88 [that is 1988, by the way] I was the unpaid Executive Secretary of Harvard/Radcliffe Alumni and Alumnae Against Apartheid [HRAAAA, or HURRAH, as we used to say.] An anonymous low level sympathizer bootlegged to us a printout [big sheets with holes along the edges] of Harvard’s super secret list of their potential donors, organized in descending order of their expected lifetime donations – the Aga Khan was first. There wasn’t actually anything we could do with it, but it taught me something about the porousness of corporate records.
Bizarrely, a dispute broke out in the comments section over the possession or non-possession of television sets. As I remarked in IN DEFENSE OF ANARCHISM forty-eight years ago, only the very poor and the very well-educated would lack the TV sets I wanted to use for Instant Direct Democracy. Half a century later, I would have to update the proposal to include cellphones. For the record, Susie and I have three sets, although we really only watch two of them, the one in the bedroom, which is on the wall, and the countertop set in the kitchen. I regularly watch lots of MSNBC, some CNN [when Chris Matthews is on MSNBC], basketball games, and old movies. I get my Big Bang Theory clips on YouTube. I know there was a good deal of disapproval when Gutenberg invented the printing press, but had I been around, I would have sided with the avant garde, not the Luddites. I can still remember when TV sets had antennae called Rabbit Ears that you had to rotate this way and that to catch the signal. I had a disc once on top of my house, but I much prefer cable. But then, I talk about movies, not about film, so apparently I am unreconstructed.
As for what the rich do with their money. Even though, as Will Rogers noted, a man can only wear one pair of pants at a time, there is in fact something very valuable that the rich buy with their money: insulation. Insulation from the poor, insulation from the middle class, insulation from the law, insulation from the Other. They not only live in gated communities, they live gated lives, and they will spend a very great deal to make sure the gate has a lock on it.