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Friday, January 13, 2017


The upscale, proper, polite, spiritually admirable view of this whole Trump mess, as expressed this morning on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show, is that the media have once again been conned by Trump, this time into focusing on the infamous secret memo about salacious details of Trump’s trips to Russia rather than talking about what is really important, namely that all 17 [!!] of America’s intelligence agencies agree that Russia systematically meddled in the presidential election for the purpose of helping Trump get elected.

Well, I am as eager as any decent highly educated upper middle class professional to concentrate on what really matters rather than being seduced by trash talk and unconfirmed dirt, but I as a warrior in the trenches of the anti-Trump battle, I would like to offer a different view.  Do I have evidence for what I am about to write?  Please!  Be serious!  But do I think there is something to what I am going to suggest?  Yes, I do.  Here goes.

In my view, that two-page addendum to the briefing memo [I assume by now everyone knows what I am talking about] was not a godsend for Trump, but a dagger to the gut, which, by the way, is why he has been Tweeting about it non-stop.  How can this be?  The Intelligence Agencies’ briefing was solid, multiply sourced, independently confirmed information, while the two-page addendum was malicious rumor.  Quite so.  But no one in America who matters at this point, which is to say Trump supporters, cares a fig about solid facts, whereas they all do care a great deal about dirty gossip.

What is vitally important in this battle is to delegitimize Trump.  Insofar as he is delegitimized in the eyes of the public, he will lose some of the power conferred by his office to change the country.  In seven days Trump will be the beneficiary of the most legitimating ceremony in American public life, viz the Inauguration of a President.  Anything that makes him look small, foolish, ridiculous, contemptible, out of control will serve to weaken that legitimization.

The press conference made him look out of control, but who watched it?  Those of us who have already made up our minds.  But the memo, now released by BuzzFeed?  Everyone will read that.  How can they, when the mainstream media primly refuse to publish it?  Come on!  Only the mainstream media think it matters what they will and won’t publish.

But if this makes Trump look bad, why will Trump’s supporters believe it?  Because it is, as they say in Psych departments, ego-syntonic, which is a fancy way of saying that it just goes to show what we already knew about him.

Will there be more dirt?  You bet.  Will everyone in America hear about it, even if the mainstream media refuse to publish it?  Yup.  Will the cumulative effect be numbing or delegitimating?  That is the real question.  I am betting it will be delegitimating, eventually draining away much of the enormous built-in authority of the Presidency.

We shall see.


Anonymous said...

I've thought from the beginning that this was a false flag placed by Trump allies in the IC and still hold to that. As happened so many times during the campaign - as soon as real issues begin to penetrate into the general dialog we have a shocking (to my eyes) allegation or revelation about Trump that drowns the real debate. Additional benefit here? Trump can use this to continue delegitimatizing the IC, not that they need much help, as something that needs to be replaced with his bigger and better agency of loyalists.

This isn't good news and it isn't going to help those of us who want this stain erased.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

You could be right.

Jerry Fresia said...

Here's the news of the day that I don't see the major media writing about:

"Having arrived in Germany a few days ago, a mass of over 3,000 US ground troops backed by a large column of American tanks are advancing eastward toward the Russian border today, heading across Poland as part of a major NATO operation called Atlantic Resolve."

In my opinion, the "establishment," otherwise known as the "deep state," is invested (literally) in ringing Russia with missile sites. Trump is not playing along. Hence, I suspect the golden shower tapes (and other such tapes ready to go) are shots across the bow. Get on board or else, is the message. Gen. Mattis has gotten the message: it is time to "confront" Russia, says Mad Dog. Lockheed and Raytheon can now breathe a little easier.

The Russians, as you have pointed out, have the capacity and therefore more than likely gathered intelligence on power centers, like the DNC. (Note: Podesta emails are altogether a different kettle of fish). However, to say that 17 American intelligence agree (you mean the Coast Guard Intelligence, Drug Enforcement Administration, and the Department of Energy each independently gathered its own intelligence too?) or that "The Intelligence Agencies’ briefing was solid, multiply sourced, independently confirmed information..." is really a stretch, unless "solid" is consistent with no evidence. (

Here's my point: I'm all in favor of sex tapes delegitimizing Trump. But will the doomsday clock be closer or farther from zero
when the Russophobia legitimizes further NATO aggression and the bromance between Putin and Trump ends with one of them having to prove who has the bigger hands?

Anonymous said...

I'm hoping that this event helps to delegitimize Trump in the eyes of the public and his ardent supporters but I worry that this could be used to attack the media and bolster Trump supporters. With people's growing distrust of the media, they may welcome Trump's attack against CNN as legitimate backlash against corruption which may end up boosting Trump's favorability in the people's eyes.

s. wallerstein said...

Jerry Fresia,

I saw the same story about U.S. troops (I recal they said 4000) advancing through Poland in the front page of the BBC website this morning.

Tom Cathcart said...

I think you got it right the first time, Bob. Now that Hillary is an irrelevant target for weird conspiracy theories, the National Enquirer crowd will be all too happy to lap up bizarre stories about a person who IS still relevant, Trump. At first, his followers will think golden showers, etc. add to his street cred and make him sort of cool in a weird way. But the stories will get nuttier and nuttier, and more closely tied to his actions, as we've seen already to some extent in the suggestion that the reason he's so cozy with Russia is that they have tapes of the peeing prostitutes. And, unlike Hillary's alleged murder of Vince Foster or Obama's faking of his birth certificate, we can actually PICTURE Trump participating in the golden showers and also PICTURE him making a deal with Putin to suppress them. Moreover, unlike Hillary or Obama, he will not ignore the stories. He will actually make them look more and more likely by his unhinged responses. I say, bring it on, Reddit!

Ed Barreras said...

Why are we persisting under the assumption that the two-page addendum was nothing but malicious rumor? It seems to me that the story has quietly gotten huge over the past 24 hours. The HuffPo has a nice write-up on why the whole thing deserves to be taken seriously^. There's also the reports that Flynn was in contact with the Kremlin on the day the recent sanctions were announced.

But most astounding is a resurfaced appearance by T***p on the Howard Stern show in 2001^^. In it, T***P is arguing with the tabloid reporter AJ Benza over who stole whose model girlfriend. (Totally surreal that he'll soon be the [minority-]president, I know.) At one point in the exchange, Benza interjects saying that "[Trump] used to call me when I was a columnist and say, 'I was just in Russia, the girls have no morals, you gotta get out there.' [Trump’s] out of his mind."

So here we have confirmation, dating all the way back to 2001, that T***p engages in lewd sex acts in Russia. Is it too far-fetched to suppose that some of this was secretly filmed by the Russians once they realized such material might prove useful? Shouldn't this be the *default* assumption?

Guys, this story isn't going away.



Matt said...

I lived in Russia from 1999-2001 (and watched Putin come to power via the 2nd Chechen war, among other things. My utter disgust for Putin is grounded in this, and what he's done to the country afterwards.) Just shortly before I arrived, there was a video tape shown on some Russian TV stations (back when Russia still had an "independent" press - the TV was all controlled by various oligarchs, but they had competing interests at that time, at least) of the prosecutor general of the Russian federation having sex with two prostitutes in a banya. The prosecutor general threatened to sue anyone who claimed it was him. (Russia has very bad liable laws, based on the worst parts of the British liable system.) So, the stations showed video of "a man who strongly resembles the prosecutor general" having sex with two prostitutes in a banya. It was wonderful. Since Trump is a fan of Russian-style liable laws and suing people, I'll admit that I look forward to the showing of video of a man who strongly resembles the US president engaged in various unsightly acts with several Russian prostitutes.

Anonymous said...

Here's a question: when the Comey letter dropped people were talking about how Trump has a lot of support in law enforcement. Did I just imagine that? If not, where is that support? If it is there, does that mean there is a kind of civil war going on now among those agencies?

Also: Jerry, you are both wonderful and sane. Thank you.