Why It’s Time to Declassify the Documents From Trump’s Basement

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Yves here. Your humble blogger is no Trump fan. However, the way the Federal government, and in particularly the intel state, has gone after him ferociously and has repeatedly come up empty….despite Trump often having terrible representation when he does go to court…is revealing. As I said in 2016 when the accusations started almost immediately after he won, “A lot of college tuitions must have depended on a hot war in Syria.”

It is alarming to see that if anything, Team Dem and other anti-Trump forces have if anything gotten even more into “The ends justify the means” mode over time. I haven’t run this clip in years, but it might be a useful teaching tool for those who have gotten a little too worked up:

By Leonard C. Goodman, a Chicago criminal defense lawyer and an adjunct professor of law at DePaul University. Originally published at ScheerPost and distributed in partnership with Economy for All, a project of the Independent Media Institute

Whatever your feelings about former President Trump, there are reasons to be skeptical when government officials say it was necessary to raid his Florida home to recover classified documents that threatened national security.

Like the former president, I was once accused by the government of mishandling classified information connected to my representation of a detainee at Guantanamo Bay. There was nothing in my client’s file that posed any danger to national security. My client was an innocent shopkeeper who was sold to the Americans back in 2003 when the U.S. was paying bounties to corrupt Afghan warlords to turn in Al Qaeda or Taliban fighters, and then shipping those men 8,000 miles to our newly built prison camp in Cuba. The government decided to classify every document in the detainee files as “secret,” not to protect national security, but so it could lie with impunity and tell the American people that the prisoners at Gitmo were the “worst of the worst,”and “terrorists” captured on the battlefield.

I never revealed any classified information. I got into trouble after writing an article criticizing the government’s practice of classifying certain evidence above the security clearance level of the detainee’s lawyer, making it impossible to challenge. Following a hearing at the Department of Justice, I was allowed to keep my security clearance long enough to see my client released back to his home and his family after 12 years of unjust imprisonment.

I was never in serious legal jeopardy. But the experience opened my eyes to the ways that our government abuses its power to classify information as “secret” to protect its own officials from embarrassment or criminal exposure. Since 9/11, the people most aggressively pursued for mishandling classified materials are whistleblowers, not traitors.

Chelsea Manning and Julian Assange revealed official crimes such as the murder of unarmed Iraqi civilians and journalists. Daniel Hale revealed that our drone assassination program regularly slaughters innocent civilians, contrary to public statements about surgical strikes. John Kiriakou revealed inconvenient facts about our torture program. Edward Snowden revealed an illegal mass surveillance program. All these truth-tellers were aggressively pursued under the Espionage Act. Assange may die in prison for telling the truth about the crimes of our leaders.

While Trump may not fit the mold of a selfless whistleblower, there is still cause for concern. First, the official justifications for the raid on Mar-a-Lago are highly suspect. Initially we were told that Trump possessed “classified documents relating to nuclear weapons” that he might sell to a foreign government like Saudi Arabia. This shocking accusation has been quietly dropped. Now we are told that the government has “grave concern”that Trump might blow the cover on “clandestine human sources” described in the mainstream media as the “lifeblood” of our intelligence community. “Disclosure could jeopardize the life of the human source,” a former legal adviser to the National Security Council told the New York Times.

This second justification—to protect sources—is also dubious. The DOJ has been in negotiation with Trump’s lawyers since he left the oval office with his boxes of documents. If the government was just concerned about protecting its informants, a deal could have easily been struck wherein government lawyers would go to Mar-a-Lago and redact the lines in the documents that identify informants without the need for a full-blown raid.

The sudden concern in the mainstream media about protecting informants in order to take down Trump is short-sighted. The U.S. has a long and sordid history of using corrupt, lying informants to launch disastrous policies like the Iraq War. In 2002-03, we were told by Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Powell that the government had “solid intelligence” that the Iraqi regime possessed mobile production facilities for biological and chemical weapons. Had ordinary Americans then had access to the intelligence reports—leaked years later, after the disastrous war was in full flight—we would have learned that the “solid intelligence” about mobile weapons labs came from a single informant named “Curveball,” who had been described by his handlers as “crazy” and “probably a fabricator” and his intelligence as “highly suspect.” Had some brave patriot leaked these reports in real time, millions more Americans would have taken to the streets in 2002 to stop the planned invasion of Iraq.

The media should be demanding more information from our government, especially about its use of informants, and not more secrecy. It is a basic rule of journalism that governments lie, and they often bribe (and sometimes torture) informants to support those lies.

Many innocent men, including my client, were sent to Guantanamo Bay on the word of informants who were bribed with large cash rewards. If these informants are the lifeblood of our intelligence service, then that service should be defunded.

A more plausible explanation for the Mar-a-Lago raid was provided by two high-level U.S. intelligence officials who told Newsweek’s William M. Arkin that the true target of the raid was a personal “stash” of hidden documents that Justice Department officials feared Donald Trump might weaponize. This stash reportedly included material that Trump thought would exonerate him of any claims of Russian collusion in 2016 or any other election-related charges. “Trump was particularly interested in matters related to the Russia hoax and the wrong-doings of the deep state,” one former Trump official told Newsweek.

This explanation is corroborated by former senior director for counterterrorism Kash Patel, who prepared a key House report that revealed “significant intelligence tradecraft failings” in connection with the Intelligence Community’s Assessment on Russian interference. But the CIA has blocked the release of Patel’s report by classifying it as “secret.”

Kash Patel, who is a current board member of Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG), began his career in government under President Obama as a national security prosecutor and later held several positions in the Trump administration. In April 2017, he was picked to lead a team of investigators for the House Intelligence Committee, chaired by Republican Devin Nunes (now CEO of TMTG), and tasked with evaluating the “Intelligence Community Assessment” (ICA) on Russian interference. Although the media touted the ICA as the consensus view of all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, it was in fact a rushed job completed in the final days of the Obama administration by a small group of CIA analysts led by then-CIA Director John Brennan.

Patel’s team obtained and reviewed the key documents underlying the ICA’s conclusions, and interviewed around 70 witnesses under oath. His demands that intelligence agencies produce relevant documents caused a stir among deep state officials unaccustomed to being called to account for their actions. As the Washington Post reported, “Democrats criticized the unusual direct requests to the agencies” by Patel’s team of investigators. Patel, a former public defender, apparently believed that even the intelligence community should be subject to the rule of law.

In March 2018, Patel’s team produced a report that found serious flaws in the CIA’s Russia investigation and called into question the intelligence community’s key claims that Russia ordered a cyber-hacking and interference campaign to help Trump. The CIA’s response to Patel’s report was to classify it as secret and block its release.

During the next three years, Patel and others, including then-President Trump and Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, pushed for declassification of Patel’s report on the ICA. But the heads of the intelligence agencies continued to obstruct, claiming that releasing the report “would compromise intelligence sources and methods” and cause “harm… to national security, including specific harm to the military.” Trump eventually backed down.

Then in December 2020, according to the Post, Trump tried to fire Gina Haspel as CIA director for “resisting efforts by Trump and Patel to declassify” Patel’s report. But once again, Trump backed down and the document still remains under lock and key. Not surprisingly, in its article about Patel’s battle with the intelligence community, the Washington Post sides with the CIA, describing CIA Director Haspel and her colleagues, who demanded that Patel’s report criticizing their work be kept secret, as “courageous officials who sought to protect the government.”

Patel has publicly voiced his frustration with the CIA for blocking release of his report on the ICA. “I think there were people within the IC [Intelligence Community], at the heads of certain intelligence agencies, who did not want their tradecraft called out, even though it was during a former administration, because it doesn’t look good on the agency itself,” Patel said in an interview. Patel also said he has been threatened with criminal prosecution just for talking to the media about his classified report. The power of government officials to say, ‘we have classified your report and if you even talk about it to the media we might put you in jail,’ is the power of a despot.

In an interview with the Grayzone’s Aaron Maté, Patel disputed the claim that releasing his report harms national security, noting that his committee released similar reports of its other investigations and “we didn’t lose a single source, we didn’t lose a single relationship, and no one died by the public disclosures we made, because we did it in a systematic and professional fashion.”

For example, in January 2018, Patel authored a report that showed serious abuses by the FBI in the Carter Page investigation, which caused a former FBI lawyer to plead guilty to falsifying information that was used to apply for warrants from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. This report criticizing the FBI was released to the public, suggesting that it is still permissible to criticize the FBI, but not the CIA.

Patel’s public statements suggest his agreement with Newsweek’s report that the true motivation for the FBI raid on Mar-a-Lago was seizing documents relating to the Russia investigation that Trump took with him when he left the White House. In a recent interview with Real Clear Politics, Patel noted that “the same corrupt FBI government gangsters, the same agents that were involved in Russiagate, the same counterintelligence agents that were involved in making the bad false call on Hunter Biden’s laptop,” are also involved in the raid on President Trump’s home, with the intent to make sure the American public never gets the full story on Russiagate.

The saga of the Mar-a-Lago raid sheds some light on the important question of who really controls what we are permitted to see about the inner workings of our own government. While the sitting president may in theory have unilateral authority to declassify and release information to the American people, the deep state bureaucracy still holds the power to obstruct the president. As one former bureaucrat told CNN, the process for declassification must include signoff from the agency that classified the information in the first place “in order to protect the intelligence-gathering process, its sources and methods.”

Whatever one thinks of Trump, is it really in the public interest to have a deep state controlling what information gets out to the public? In 1953, the CIA directed a military coup that overthrew democratically elected Iranian leader Mohammad Mosaddegh, and in 1973, the CIA helped overthrow democratically elected Chilean leader Salvador Allende. These leaders were targeted not because they were unfriendly to the American people but because they were unfriendly to international oil and copper interests that wanted to exploit those countries’ resources. And while the people of Iran and Chile knew in real time who was responsible, the American people were kept in the dark for decades until key historical documents were finally declassified.

Many scholars believe the CIA was complicit in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Yet 60 years later, thousands of key documents remain redacted or under seal. President Trump came to office promising to release those records, as required by the JFK Records Act. But deep state bureaucrats opposed the release, claiming it would cause “potentially irreversible harm to our Nation’s security.” Trump backed down, quite possibly recalling the fate of the last president to go to war with the CIA.

It’s not necessary to side with Trump to oppose excessive secrecy. It’s our government. We have a right to see whatever secrets Trump had hidden in his basement. And if government bureaucrats are truly concerned that one of their informants might be outed, they can redact those few lines from the reports. But show us the rest.

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101 comments

  1. John Moffett

    Interesting that so many people are so much more upset about Trump getting raided by the FBI, than the FBI raid on the African People’s Socialist Party of America, which happened the same week. The reasons for raiding the socialists was far, far more flimsy than the raid on Trump land. In fact, it was non-existent. If you are worried that the FBI is overstepping its bounds, that might be a better incident to focus on. Oh, I forgot, anything to do with Trump gets more clicks. He still gets free advertising everywhere. When will that end?

    https://amsterdamnews.com/news/2022/08/11/fbi-raid-on-african-peoples-socialist-party-denounced/

    Reply
      1. YankeeFrank

        Well sure but isn’t it more that the Trump raid and his ongoing political persecution are a blatantly political move, weaponizing the Federal security state to nullify and outlaw a massive part of the political spectrum and its champion? Its surely a much bigger story than a small, relatively insignificant group being targeted. The FBI has been doing that since before its inception, impossible as that sounds. That doesn’t make it just or right but its still a story with far less relevance. Report on all of it but don’t expect the coverage to be equal.

        Despite what the WaPo says, MAGA Americans make up far more than “just” 10 million. And while this is worse than Cointelpro, in the sense that it is directed at a much broader swathe of the citizenry, it is actually that same kind of operation which started with Debs, Wilson, WWI and the Espionage Act. And of course the Espionage Act is at play in this case too. But, and this is key: this time its a president they’re going after.

        This is a huge, epoch defining and ongoing scandal. It needs to be covered as much as possible. Especially given the shoddy and lying way the bulk of the MSM is covering it (a continuation of their disgraceful Russiagate coverage).

        And sure, Trump is nauseating in many ways. He’s also funny and has an oily charm the rest of the political field simply cannot match. If you can’t accept, or at least inure yourself to, the fact that US politics and media was and always will be a crazy circus perhaps its time to pick up another hobby. At some point you have to just laugh a bit at the crazy chaos that is America. And it’s gonna get a lot “funnier” before things, one way or another, settle down.

        There is a certain poetry in the idea that our insane nation, made up of peoples from all the world’s cultures but mostly European (historically the most ambitious and ambitiously violent cultures), may just be the spark that blows up the world for good. There are many things one has no control over and must simply watch and bear witness to. There I go, rambling again.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          Suits my theory that the reason we are so nuts is the nation is filled with people who cold not get along where they were so they came to America.

          Then the people who couldn’t get along in Pennsylvania, moved to Missouri
          Out of sorts in MO, they moved to NV. That didn’t work either so
          Off to California.

          Self sorted nuts from coast to coast

          Reply
        2. Grayce

          Yes, a circus of sorts. But one big caveat: HE cannot get back to the oval office now that we know that he would be czar. Telltales in his language; admiring the majesty of Elizabeth II’s funeral, not her personal self; portraying Pence as a traitor to “our cause” but not to our country; wanting to take back America without describing what it means. But still Yves speaks true, there is weaponization of things under power of elected officials and we, the people, do not know how to retain that kind of control.

          Reply
          1. ArkansasAngie

            Well … while I don’t agree that he will declare himself ruler, I do offer his age as an equalizer. If Trump can somehow defeat the deep state then he will have indeed done us all a HUGE favor. If they can do what they are doing to Trump, the rest of us have no chance. Let’s have some empathy here. I can personify … can you?

            Reply
    1. Cat Burglar

      Both the APSPA and Trump raids are of a piece: open management of politics by the threat of prosecution by the Feds.

      The powers usually do not resort to the courts unless they are feeling pressed, as with the conspiracy trials of New Left activists under Nixon during the Vietnam War, or the arrests of anti-globalization protestors twenty years ago. The feds often lose in court, as they did with the conspiracy trials and in the group arrests of protestors, but it is more important to them to divert attention away from organizing and public education on issues — the movement is demobilized.

      My guess is that APSPA was picked because they are small and defenseless, and are being made an example of what might happen to any group advocating negotiation with Russia. (Something that was tried unsuccessfully on this website by private actors during the PropOrNot episode.) My hunch is that their big problem with Trump is that he is not a pair of trusted hands, and so must be politically sidelined. None of the tactics they are using are new or unprecedented, but their open use suggests an attempt to head off what they see as an impending crisis. I do not see any consideration of the Trump or APSPA raids that neglects them as political tactics to be a credible analysis.

      Reply
  2. JCC

    I, too, am no fan of Donald Trump, but Mr. Goodman makes excellent points here. I just finished reading The Ghost by Jefferson Morely about the history of James Angleton’s career with the CIA which goes into detail of his various secret programs of spying on US citizens since 1959 as well as his intentional holding back of documents regarding the assassination of President Kennedy from the Warren Commission and other matters.

    I also have indirect experience with the so-called “mobile production facilities” in Iraq. They were consistently found to be mobile well water testing vans by the MI Battalion I worked for while being touted as “proof” by US Media at the time they were found.

    After years of reading books and articles such as this on the actions and history of the CIA within various Administrations, it’s pretty apparent to me that a lot of what the CIA does is criminal and it uses the classification system to hide, as best it can, it’s criminal activities.

    These documents should be reasonably redacted and released ASAP. Unfortunately for those directly involved with all of this, it would probably prove to be very embarrassing… so it won’t happen.

    Reply
  3. The Rev Kev

    Always liked that particular “Man For All Seasons” clip. Anyway, I can imagine that among those documents that Trump had were those that effected him personally. So I can fully believe that ‘Trump was particularly interested in matters related to the Russia hoax and the wrong-doings of the deep state’ as any such documents would clear his name and protect both him and his legacy. And it is noteworthy how you see this group of FBI agents that have their grubby mitts with Russiagate and the Hunter Biden laptop now going after Trump personally and seizing all those files if they believed that they might exonerate him – while incriminating them. Perhaps one reason that it took so long to raid him was that it took some time to assemble a list of all the documents that he had going by bureaucratic records. But I do wonder. When all those agents go to bed at the end of the day and are lying in bed, are they kept awake by a suspicion? Do they ask themselves-

    ‘Did that SOB make a copy of those records and hide them or not?’

    Reply
    1. Pelham

      Given the fact that Trump backed down from his pledge to release the JFK assassination documents, perhaps his kept trove of papers was in some way intended to spare him the same fate. I hope he made copies or has other papers squirreled away in a less obvious location.

      Reply
  4. mrsyk

    “This report criticizing the FBI was released to the public, suggesting that it is still permissible to criticize the FBI, but not the CIA.” It seems that the CIA is deeper state than the FBI.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      Some would claim (not me) that the CIA is capable of shooting a president much less framing them as traitors.

      The hysteria over Trump really shows how insecure the ruling class is. They know they’ve got it coming.

      Reply
      1. YankeeFrank

        The CIA is not just capable of shooting a president. They’ve done it all over the world and in the USA too.

        If US history was taught honestly, the coup of 1963, and its resultant political shift to the fascist would figure prominently.

        Reply
      2. Mark Gisleson

        I’ve been telling my friends for over a year that 2022 is the year everything blows up and it never occurred to me that Vicky Nuland would get her war in Ukraine on top of everything else.

        It all flows from Russiagate. Reporting the truth in 2016 would have erased this entire timeline. The scandal wouldn’t have changed the election, but it would have crippled Deep State’s ability to blackmail Trump. A saner Congress could have easily impeached Trump while setting a precedent for finally going after billionaires who routinely ignore laws during the course of normal business.

        Once any part of the enormous Beltway Insider bubble bursts, everything falls apart.

        Except for the stuff Russia and China control which, thankfully, will be pretty much everything from now on.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          I argue for the Chinese to send a row boat of infantry up the Potomac to occupy DC.

          The rest of the country cheers and sends them cupcakes.

          Reply
        2. Alan Roxdale

          All of these events are only symptoms of the hectic unleashed after 2008, itself a disease of economic ideology which took hold in the 1970s. Events around elections, politicians, media, and even wars are incidental to the tectonic social pressures being caused by inequality, globalization, and the death of the western middle class.

          Reply
  5. Huxley

    Like a car wreck but we can safely gape from anywhere. Entertainment/Diversion Industry assures the best viewing on any device.

    Reply
  6. ArkansasAngie

    This is a treat to American. This keeps us from growing as a country. And by golly, it should scare the stuffing out of us all. It could happen to you and there is nothing to stop them

    Reply
    1. YankeeFrank

      Indeed. Part of this is just the latest security state flex: if they can take down a president in full public view (unlike the skulking, creeping way they “took down” JFK and RFK) they become the acknowledged greatest of the American Gods.

      Reply
      1. YankeeFrank

        And I should add since my other comment on this is in moderation, that if they take down Trump you can forget any future candidates from outside the circle of globalist trust.

        Did anyone notice that after the, er, removal of JFK and RFK, our presidents have all represented a very narrow spectrum of security-state line-toeing neoliberal ideological grounding?

        What do you think will happen to that spectrum if Trump is removed? It ain’t getting any wider, I can tell you that.

        So I’m all in for the Trump victory despite having absolutely no love for the guy. At least he’s funny and represents the only opposition to the coup that began in 1963. Honestly not sure which reason compels my support more at this point. If I’m gonna die in a nuclear fireball I want my last moments to be happy and laughing.

        Reply
      2. Mark Gisleson

        The Russians have god-killing hypersonic missiles and if anyone ever circulates a petition asking Putin to hit Langley with one, I’m signing it.

        Complicated problems often have simple solutions.

        Reply
        1. YankeeFrank

          If I wasn’t clear, “they” is the CIA, or to narrow it down even further the Alan Dulles part of it that killed the Kennedys.

          Reply
  7. voteforno6

    Oh FFS, just because the author had a bad experience, doesn’t necessarily mean that Trump is in the right here. First of all, those aren’t his documents – they belong to the government. Trump should not have them in his possession. In addition, some of the documents in Trump’s possession were much more highly classified than what the author was dealing with. I’m not sure he really understands what “TS/SCI” actually means, or, as has been suggested in some media reports, “Special Access Program.”

    Also, you don’t just declassify documents – you have to declassify the information that’s in them. There’s a whole process for this, that involves a lot of paperwork, electronic or otherwise. It seems rather absurd to declassify something, just because Donald Trump decided to hang on to something that wasn’t his in the first place.

    Finally, I’m not sure why he decided to tack on that bit about the CIA. It seems at least some of these documents originated from DoD, not CIA. Does the author not understand what “National Defense Information” means? Even if some of them originated from the CIA, so what? Trump should not have had them in his possession because, once again, they don’t belong to him. The author also doesn’t help his case by bringing up the Kennedy assassination, but whatever. Conspiracy nuts just can’t help themselves, I guess.

    If Trump really thought that there was stuff there that shouldn’t be classified, he could’ve declassified them when he was President. We know he didn’t, because there would’ve been a paper trail. I suspect that, if he actually had a standing order to declassify documents, we would’ve heard complaints about it from the intelligence community, as they leaked to various members of Congress or the media. Since that dog didn’t bark, we can infer that he didn’t declassify those documents.

    Reply
        1. John Emerson

          “The people used to be the government.”

          WTF is that supposed to mean?

          Trump believed that the minute he took office, the government was his property and everyone who worked for the government was his lackey.

          Reply
          1. Michael Ismoe

            WTF is that supposed to mean?

            It means that – in 40 years – we’ve gone from the Church Commission to a Majority Leader who fears for his life if he takes on the CIA.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Church_Committee

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nXGt6Jnabc&ab_channel=TonyHeller

            https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/312605-schumer-trump-being-really-dumb-by-going-after-intelligence-community/

            One would think that someone who possesses the ability to read presidential minds would know that.

            Reply
            1. John Emerson

              You know, you might think of saying what you mean instead of floating vague meaningless slogans and then sneerng at people who fail to get your secret message.

              There has never been a time when the President was allowed to take home hundreds of official records for his own personal use during his post-presidential years. Trump is not Tha People.

              Reply
              1. YankeeFrank

                This is blatantly false. Presidents take home documents all the time and the deep state looks the other way. And somehow you know what docs Trump had/has while the rest of us are in the dark, just like you know what is in his mind.

                Reply
    1. Objective Ace

      he could’ve declassified them when he was President.

      The author expected that critism and helpfully already included a rebuttal:

      “the process for declassification must include signoff from the agency that classified the information in the first place “in order to protect the intelligence-gathering process, its sources and methods.”

      Its your job to now take down his rebuttal if you think it isnt true… is it not true? Seems like it would be easy to prove

      Reply
  8. Tom Stone

    I see the Mar A Lago raid as a very clear message to our Job Creators.
    It doesn’t matter that you have Billions of Dollars and it doesn’t matter that you are an ex President (Or Governor or…) step out of line and we will get you.
    I wonder if Larry Ellison is paying attention…

    Reply
    1. Grayce

      Or, we could focus on the content of his character and his behavior and not the externals like “ex-president”–so what? or “billions of dollars.” The real point is that no one is above the law. So, the question is whether a law was broken or is suspected to have been broken. Certainly not first mattering “who” broke the law. Stepping out of line with the Norquist Pledge (voluntary) is far removed from stepping out of line with statutory code (applies to all_.
      Just who is “getting” you? It is different in different circumstances.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        There is an entire class of elites in this country who are completely above the law and have gotten away with whatever they want for quite some time. Trump wanted into that club, and the elites have done everything they can to deny him membership.

        All this uproar over Trump is nothing but the snobs vs. the slobs and they are going after Trump for the same reason they tried to kick Rodney Dangerfield out of the country club in Caddyshack.

        We’re well into the farce phase of history at this point.

        Reply
  9. John Emerson

    As I understand, the documents being classified was not the justification of the raid at all, though it has become the main one in the media. Removing documents from the public record and privatizing them was the issue. While in office he seemingly had no concept of “public” and no understanding that public officials are anything other than personal servants of the President, and he has spoken as though these documents are and were his personal property.

    Trump does not like to leave a paper trail and also routinely destroyed documents. There’s also a concern that he might have plans to blackmail people.

    I am as unhappy as anybody with the PMC and the Democratic-Republican war party and the Democratic-Republican servitude to finance, but I do recognize Trump and his mob as something that has to be opposed. I seem to see a certain number of my friends distancing themselves from the anti-Trump forces just out of contrarian hatred of the PMC. The desire to be in some way politically relevant may also be a factor. It’s pretty bitter to come to understand that the two significant contending political forces in this country are both toxic and that you and everyone you know are nonentities politically, but that’s the way it seems to be.

    Our situation reminds me of that of the Russian intelligentsia after 1870 or so, which included some of the smartest people in the world, Everyone knew that everything was terribly wrong, but all forms of resistance proved to be futile, and all people could do was watch.

    Reply
    1. YankeeFrank

      “Trump… has to be opposed”. Trump is being opposed. He’s being opposed so hard it makes you wonder why. He’s not the reincarnation of Al Capone. He’s a dirty big-business guy (is there any other kind?) but every criticism that can be leveled at him can also be against Biden, Hillary and all the rest of them, but on an industrial scale compared to his cottage industry filth.

      If I had to place my finger on one cause for this hatred of Trump it’s that he messed with their plans for world domination: the retreat from Afghanistan was him, the sea change that is the now massive opposition to globalism was him (no TPP, heh). Just imagine how different our project in Ukraine would have been perceived by the world if we hadn’t just flailed out of Afghanistan with our tails between our legs 6 months prior.

      He threw a major wrench in their plans and did it with a crass manner to boot. The new-style fascist propaganda simply doesn’t work if the guy up top is saying things like “we took the oil, we’ll take the oil” and “sh_thole countries”.

      Trump isn’t the savior we deserve, or perhaps he is. Of course he isn’t a savior at all but the point is if they remove him like an offending lesion from the body politic, or whatever, you can forget your dreams of a future Bernie Sanders or anyone who is not a corporate-state drone gently delivering us into the kinder, gentler fascist dystopian nightmare future. Heck, even if they don’t remove him… so pray they don’t. Its our only chance.

      Reply
  10. Michael Fiorillo

    Have always loved that quote from A Man For All Seasons and have often used it in arguments (especially during Russiagate, when #McResistance liberals were happily convinced the CIA/FBI would bring Orange Man down, despite the transparent absurdity of their claims) but it still must be pointed out: Thomas a’ Becket is killed at the end, and so much for the law… and thus our dilemmas regarding Trump and Trumpismo.

    Reply
    1. lyman alpha blob

      That was Sir Thomas More who lost his head in this case. Becket was whacked by a different Henry.

      I suspect Trump will die in his own bed surrounded by cheeseburger wrappers. One thing the man is good at is tying up the courts. Even if they have enough to indict him, his lawyers will drag it out and he’ll die a free man.

      Reply
  11. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

    The article can be summarized thus:

    “I’m no Trump fan, but: The US government often has lied. Therefore, it is lying now. Therefore Trump is innocent.”

    That’s about it.

    Oh, and by the way, pay no attention to Trump’s attempted coup, fake University scam, fake foundation scam, COVID lies that killed hundreds of thousands, infidelities with 3 wives, 35,000 lies, attempts to blackmail Ukraine’s President, calling war dead “suckers,” draft dodging, incredible cruelty to immigrant children and parents, and dozens of other good reasons to suspect that Trump had nefarious reasons for stealing documents he barely could read.

    Instead, please assume Trump was innocent, the FBI is guilty, and now let’s talk about Hunter’s laptop.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      On the other hand, if Trump had a second term, would there be a war in the Ukraine at the moment? I think that he would have nixed it for a very good reason – no profit in it, especially not for him.

      Reply
    2. Pat

      Actually the gist of the article is that the security state is proven to be untrustworthy regarding both classification and their accusations. There is also proof that Trump has been a target of illegal investigation since he became the leading Republican Candidate for President. Starting with FISA warrants that the government has lied to obtain in order to illegally investigate Trump and by the way gotten bupkis (Carter Page). There is evidence that the security state has both targeted Trump and classified information about that action. And there is a record of the government using document classification in order to hide their own misdeeds.

      Ignoring that record in this instance can only mean that this raid and investigation will never be credible for half of America. IF you really want a result where there is no question that Trump is not being railroaded and persecuted you would also want a fully transparent investigation with full release of the documents they were searching for, the specific reasons they were classified, what was seized, and the documents themselves with minimal redactions, I say names and addresses.

      That would make the evidence convict Trump, not that you hate him so accuse him of everything under the sun.

      Let’s switch that up a little, it ignores Biden’s long record of plairism, lying about his wife’s death and continued torture of the real victim of the crash for political gain, his various corrupt activities with his brother and his son not just Ukraine, his blackmail of the Ukrainian prosecutor about Burisma, the millions of dead from Covid on his watch, his endangering infants by his failure to act on the formula shortage, his continuing and escalating a proxy war with Russia in the Ukraine, his I’ll conceived sanctions destroying the European economy and speeding up America’s loss of being the reserve currency not to mention putting pot shots into most Americans economy. Oh and he is also utterly inappropriate about women.

      But let’s just declare Biden the greatest President since George Washington and convict Trump on here say alone because we KNOW he’s guilty otherwise we would be in the glorious second term of the greatest President ever Hillary Clinton.

      Reply
      1. anon in so cal

        Overlooks a plethora of other tidbits, such as how, before a recession, Biden passed legislation beneficial to MBNA and the credit card industry (Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act), which would prevent people filing bankruptcy for medical bills. Hunter Biden immediately got hired as a lobbyist for $100,000 /year for 5 years. Or, how Biden passed “mandatory minimums” drug legislation yet suppressed information about Hunter’s possession of a controlled substance so that H was able to obtain a lucrative position on Amtrak’s board. There are 100s of such examples of Biden’s lifelong corruption.

        Reply
    3. tegnost

      “I’m no Trump fan, but: The US government often has lied. Therefore, it is lying now. Therefore Trump is innocent.”

      I don’t think that accurately summarizes the post, while “trump is guilty.” does summarize yours.

      Reply
    4. spud

      “Oh, and by the way, pay no attention to “the clintons attempted coup in 2016, and 2020(bernie would have won twice!), bills fake University scam, bills fake foundation scam, bidens COVID lies that killed hundreds of thousands, bills infidelities with other mens wives, bidens rape, 35,000 lies, attempts to cover up hunters Ukraine’s corruption, killing one half a million iraq children by a draft dodging clinton, incredible cruelty to immigrant children and parents by bill clinton, barack obama, and whippings by joe biden,”

      i thought for sure you were discussing the bill clinton democrats. then you fell into trump derangement syndrome.

      there was a reason why the ACLU defended nazi’s.

      Reply
    5. Grayce

      Good note. Just like a corporate takeover, you discredit the current administration and promise the moon, then people surrender their votes (or brain cells) and you get what you wanted. Remember, Carl Icahn is the original raider who reinvented the scheme to be called “activist stockholder.” He was one of Trump’s campaign advisors and helped create that new path to winning with the fringe. Just discredit Hillary; you do not need to be specific about your plans. Remember when he said, “Who knew health insurance was so complicated?” That was his response to finding the “best minds.” And, he had the gall to be in charge for three years, but to bemoan “failing public schools.”
      Your ironic example of logic almost hurts while laughing.

      Reply
  12. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

    Following the “logic” of the above article, when you say “nix” that’s more than half of “Nixon,” who was far less a crook than Trump, but was mistreated by being essentially thrown out of office.

    Therefore, Trump is being mistreated.

    It all fits together.

    And by the way, here is a prediction. The special master will find that the vast majority of what the FBI found should not have been taken by Trump, who immediately will blast the judge as being biased.

    Wanna bet?

    Reply
    1. John Emerson

      But Trump will have gained 2 or 3 months, and by then he will have a new delaying action in the works. He’s been working this way for decades. Some cases still in the works are 10 years old.

      Reply
  13. Michael Ismoe

    This is just campaigning by other means. Now that the FBI has politicized, I expect much worse from whichever side wins in 2024. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton called the governor of Florida a “human trafficer” for sending a planeload of Venezuelans to Martha’s Vineyard. The woman who as SoS caused these people to flee their country is calling others a criminal?

    I used to say, “You have to vote for the Democrats. They are inept but the Republicans are nuts.” Now they are both truly evil. There is no way I will vote for either of them again.

    Reply
    1. anon in so cal

      Could it be worse than now, under Biden?

      “”In sum, to the Department of Homeland Security, an “extremist” is anyone who
      opposes the current prevailing ruling class and system for distributing power…..
      ..Involvement of the intelligence community in the domestic activities of U.S.
      citizens is one of the most dangerous breaches of civil liberties and democratic
      order the U.S. Government can perpetrate….

      there are few dangers more acute than the weaponization of these security
      state instruments against U.S. citizens for political ends.”

      “The U.S. Intelligence Community, Flouting Laws, is Increasingly Involving Itself in Domestic Politics

      A letter from House Intelligence Committee members demands answers from the DNI about illegal breaches of the wall guarding against CIA and NSA domestic activity.”

      https://greenwald.substack.com/p/the-us-intelligence-community-flouting

      Reply
    2. Tony Wright

      So who will you vote for? Or will you, along with a substantial proportion of the citizens of the US, simply not vote? Thousands have died in countries like Burma (Myanmar) fighting for the right to exercise their democratic right to vote, rights that citizens in many democratic countries take for granted and so place on them little or no value. Sad.
      The nature of politics is that voters usually have to choose between the lesser of two or more evils. Not voting (if you live in a country where you actually have the right to vote) means that you increase the risk of the greater evil being elected.
      Or to misquote the late Lowell George (of Little Feat) “Life is a perfect imperfection”.

      Reply
      1. Pat

        I cannot speak for Michael, but my last three presidential votes have been for third parties. My last vote for governor was a write in, and will be again. In the coming election I will vote either third party or write in someone for Congress. While there are individual party members I would or have voted for in the last decade, those numbers are getting smaller and smaller.

        I have accepted that not voting works too well for our Uni-Parties. That doesn’t make them face that to a significant and growing portion of the population they are both unacceptable and need to be replaced. A no name out of the blue green, libertarian or even “the rent’s too high” candidate pulling in 25, 30 or even 40+% cannot be ignored. There may be too many ways to game the actual election system for that to happen, but maybe not and there is certainly more chance than not voting at all.

        Reply
        1. tegnost

          This reflects my stance.
          Vote with a vengeance.
          I was done with lesser of two evilism in 2010 at the latest.
          The dems have for quite a while been the more effective, thus greater, evil for quite a while. That 120 days thing in the IRA is just…I’m speechless.
          I’m voting for things not against things.
          The lady who mentions m4a,
          the guy who has compassion for the homeless
          Mickey Mouse
          I’m Independent.
          Preferably small local races, more than happy to undervote in the presidential, which is only effective if you vote in everything else.

          Reply
  14. Boomheist

    I think Trump took with him materials specific to individuals in the administrative state, and electeds, which could be leverage later on – for example, I bet Trump has Epstein’s client list. This kind of information is stunningly powerful. Imagine for a moment if the new Master just appointed to handle the Mara Lago document review was an Epstein client…..

    I also think two things can be true at the same time: 1) Trump is a bone-deep criminal and. 2) the deep state has been out to get him from Day One.

    What bothers me about all this is that I have yet to see, anywhere, a detailed article discussing exactly how it can be that seriously classified documents, those that need to be checked in and out for safety, can be “missing” for 18 months…..I know, I know, Archives began asking for there materials long ago, but more in the realm of “You have some things, give them back…” rather than “Here is the list of what is missing, give them back…”

    Kind of one of those situations…if these documents are or were so critical, how come then Trump wasn’t raided right away? How come it seems we didn’t even know they were missing? Combine this with the well known tendency to stamp anything embarrassing as “classified” and it is no surprise to me that the new young judge wondered aloud whether these classified documents were really classified……

    Reply
    1. John Emerson

      “…if these documents are or were so critical, how come then Trump wasn’t raided right away? How come it seems we didn’t even know they were missing? ”

      They weren’t records of daily use and they hadn’t been archived yet.

      When you consider the stink this raid made, after multiple requests were ignored,maybe they were a little cautious.

      ANd as I said above, their classification or not was not the issue. It was privatizing public documents.

      Reply
      1. britzklieg

        “privatizing public documents”

        as opposed to erasing them…

        or stuffing them into one’s underwear and simply walking out with them…

        and getting away with it?

        Reply
        1. John Emerson

          He also routinely destroyed documents because he was the kind of person who doesn’t want to leave a paper trail.

          So your point is someone else did something bad so what Trump did is no big deal? Do you really think that is a point?

          Reply
          1. lyman alpha blob

            I certainly do. Letting the abject lawlessness of other recent presidents and elites go while pursuing Trump normalizes all that other behavior. You want to go after Trump? Then go after him for assassinating Soleimani or putting on a coup in Venezuela – he deserves to be in the Hague for that. But of course those are the things the beltway cheered him on for, because the rest of the elites did those things too. St. Obama even extrajudicially murdered US citizens, including a 14 year old. The Middle East is still on fire from the illegal wars Bush lied us into. Biden bragged about having foreign officials canned, same type of blackmail Trump was impeached for, even though Trump only made a request and never followed through. Etc.

            If the best they can come up with against Trump is mishandling paperwork, they are even bigger clowns than I thought.

            Reply
            1. JBird4049

              Right. President Trump went against the Norms Faeries who do not disapprove of murder, destruction, lying, and theft. Morality, ethics, justice, the law are all less important than the fricken norms.

              Reply
  15. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

    Ah, questions, questions, questions. Reminds one of the National Enquirer’s questions. “Why was Suzie going out of her house at 7:00 AM? Could she be seeing someone? What else was she doing?

    Oooooh!

    Now we have “Why didn’t the FBI raid sooner?” The alternative would have been, “Why did the FBI raid so soon.”

    In short, we don’t trust the FBI as much as we trust “honest Donald Trump,” so we ask questions that sound incriminating of the FBI, but really have no substance, just like the National Enquirer did.

    Reply
    1. whiteylockmandoubled

      Many thanks to Rodger Malcolm Mitchell for reducing a full undergraduate philosophy (or Rhetoric) lecture to a few terse sentences. Hard-pressed to find a clearer example of false opposition, one of the more toxic members of the dichotomous logic family of fallacies.

      “In short, we don’t trust the FBI as much we trust ‘honest Donald Trump'” distills years of false arguments about Trump and grotesque smears of critics of American war policy to its essence. You’re either with us or Trump and the fascists!!!

      As if politics in a country of 330 million people whose government runs a psychotically violent global empire drenched in secrecy and propaganda on behalf of a small class of people, and a plurality of whose people regularly refuse to participate in its elections at all, can or ought to be reduced to binary choices between Trump and our national political police.

      It is in fact possible to find Trump politically objectionable and, as I have, spend hundreds of hours canvassing voters in opposition to his candidacies, including spending ten days a couple of thousand miles from home curing ballots rejected by politicized election officials, even choosing after agonizing deliberations with my wife to skip my mother-in-law’s funeral to do so, and at the same time find the most objectionable erosion of “political norms” in the past six years to be the widespread applause from partisan Democrats for the demolition of the historic [purported] firewall against our spy agencies’ manipulation of domestic electoral politics.

      Goodman’s right. If Trump was threatening grave harm to American “national security,” declassify the documents and prove it. Put up or shut up.

      Reply
  16. David

    Here’s another long article by someone with an (understandable) personal grudge but who actually doesn’t know anything about the subject other than what he’s read. I don’t know what’s in the documents, and neither does anyone else except the few who’ve seen them. It might be as well to reserve judgement until we do. In reality, issues of classification and declassification are not that difficult to understand, and I and others have tried briefly in the past to explain how systems work in most countries. Leaving rumours and leaks to one side for a moment, since those are never a good basis for conclusions, it looks as though the real issue and scandal is probably the incompetent handling of highly classified information by the Trump White House. But we’ll see in due course.

    Reply
    1. hk

      I think this gets at the fundamental problem with trust and institutions that goes beyond Trump and the particulars of this case.

      We’ll never actually know the full extent of what’s going on. There’re Trump’s version of the story, Trump enemies’ (of all stripes) version of the story, FBI’s version of the story, and whatever other pieces we come across. Since we don’t have a clear view of what “the full truth” is that we can’t agree on, and given the way things are going, we never will, we can only process the information that we have through the lens of our preconceptions (not necessarily just about Trump, but various institutions involved in the process), all we can throw about are semi-wild guesses that say more about who we are more than whatever the truth is. Now, this doesn’t mean that these wild guesses are worse than “the truth,” whatever it is, because we don’t have the latter and we likely never will.

      This is not necessarily unique to Trump and associated events: in a chaotic informational setting where there are tons of conflicting information from all sorts of sources, most people can only rely on a combination of trust in information sources and their reasoning ability, and truth be told, the former holds a lot more weight (if only by necessity) since our reasoning ability is pretty limited, especially when we don’t even know the big moving parts. “Public institutions” of various types can help sort through the mess by limiting their pronouncements to where there’s anything close to certainty, being circumspect in their words and actions, and inspiring confidence from broad segments of the population, that either they know what they are talking about or that they are honest about things that they aren’t sure. We don’t have that kind of public institutions. Everyone is jumping to sources that they trust, in absence of the broadly trusted institutions, which they do so for “tribal” reasons. This looks to be a dangerous process.

      Reply
  17. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

    Ah, questions, questions, questions. Reminds one of the National Enquirer’s questions. “Why was Suzie going out of her house at 7:00 AM? Could she be seeing someone? What else was she doing?

    Oooooh!

    Now we have “Why didn’t the FBI raid sooner?” The alternative would have been, “Why did the FBI raid so soon?”

    Reply
    1. spud

      are you a woodrew wilson democrat?

      https://mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1166/american-civil-liberties-union

      “ACLU founded after World War I with civil liberties under attack

      The ACLU was founded in 1920 by a number of prominent figures, including Roger Baldwin (former head of the National Civil Liberties Bureau, a group born out of the American Union Against Militarism), Crystal Eastman, Albert De Silver, Helen Keller and others.

      At the time, ensuring the protection and respect for individuals’ civil liberties included protecting aliens facing deportation and assisting U.S. nationals threatened by U.S. attorney general Alexander Mitchell Palmer with criminal charges for communist or socialist activities.

      “The ACLU also supported the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), opposing government legislation that attacked the rights of the IWW and other labor unions to organize and meet. The ACLU’s predecessor, the National Civil Liberties Bureau, had opposed U.S. intervention in World War I and provided legal advice and assistance for conscientious objectors to the war and those being prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918.”

      “ACLU has opposed Patriot Act

      More recently, the ACLU has been a strong voice in opposition to the USA Patriot Act of 2001, its renewal (Patriot II), and other legislation passed in response to the threat of terrorism following the al-Qaida attacks of September 11, 2001. The ACLU asserts that the law violates the letter and spirit of the Bill of Rights. The ensuing debate on the balance between the protection of civil liberties and security priorities has led to an increase in the ACLU’s activities as well as growth in its membership since 2001.”

      “ACLU has supported First Amendment rights of unpopular organizations

      Some of the ACLU’s more controversial stances involve its support of unpopular people or organizations in holding to its position that all citizens and residents of the United States be allowed to exercise their free speech rights.

      For example, the ACLU defended the free speech rights for the Ku Klux Klan and neo-Nazi groups although these groups’ stances on other issues conflict with those of the ACLU. In another instance concerning the protection of free speech, the ACLU fought proposed anti-“spam” legislation in 2000 that it argued infringed free speech through the forced labeling of all e-mail.”

      Reply
    2. John Emerson

      I love the front page of this site but every time I go to the comments I find myself ankle deep in shit. We shouldn’t have to be arguing some of these things. And it’s just like I said — some people need to be “relevant” so bad that they’ll do any stupid thing to get noticed.

      SO MUCH whataboutism.

      Reply
      1. witters

        What on earth are you trying to say? I’ve read all the comments, and I’m afraid yours are the ones I might, if pushed, classify as what you are ankle deep in.

        “Whataboutism” used to be called morality, as in moral consistency being a condition of moral seriousness. Nowadays it excuses the putatively righteous from this very demand. And they are so sure of themselves.

        Reply
        1. John Emerson

          Whataboutism is when, whenever says someone’s doing something wrong, you change the
          Trump attempted a coup with the support of a mob of far right wingers, Christian Nationalists, and even a few Nazis. But people are shying that he’s somehow better than the Democrats since they did have also done lots of different things wrong./

          In my first post here I said that a lot of people seem to think that since Biden Clinton and Obama were horrible, Trump must somehow be nw worse than them or even maybe better,

          And people do this because they don’t want to recognize their helplessness.

          If Trump actually wins this war, he will not thank any of his useful idiots. It never works that way.

          Reply
  18. Stephen

    I always enjoy that clip and the final speech by the Sir Thomas More character.

    Very relevant beyond the Trump case in this period of arbitrary sanctions against individuals because they happen to be Russian; against other individuals who have expressed opinions that various western governments disagree with; or against journalists such as Julian Assange who have exposed their lies.

    My fear (as seems the relevant point to this case) is that the rule of law itself is increasingly being subverted in the west, even when it is being seen to be applied in a procedural sense. It no longer seems always to be the common calling that unites lawyers and the judiciary, who one senses are increasingly politicized and ideological.

    The law is also so complex that if you push enough buttons and spend enough energy looking then most public figures can probably be indicted for something (as is also no doubt relevant here). The rule of law is already broken in a moral sense when the decision is made to spend time on investigating person x and not person y.

    Reply
  19. Eureka Springs

    We in the USA can’t even stop local police caught on camera from torture and murder. If a president can’t stop secret police by merely firing them or a senator such as Fienstien can’t stop them from stealing torture reports right off her computer then all is lost. We are so far past any point of civil return to even a false pretense of decency, civilian rule, rule of law. But that which never existed, democracy, is in danger!

    Funny that people like Col. Lang always says there is so little HUMINT nowadays. It’s all just people conducting electronic surveillance for the most part. But we are always is so much danger of causing the loss of an agents life. 99 percent of all secret documents must be about those few in HUMINT. Never mind the fact HUMINT or Sig in the hands of our police state has failed us so miserably on matters of great import so many times. Perhaps they should hide their failures in the same vault as their success stories. That never gets out.

    In this age nobody is safe from blackmail, whether evidence is true or entirely made up. And surely blackmail is the tool used by the spooks on the executive and legislative branches for so long to make them cower so completely. It’s easy to imagine a very few people could control it all and remain anonymous in this set up. I’ll bet even most Presidents don’t know. Trump may know more about what was done, but not who really pulls the strings.

    I still marvel at the fact Vicki Nulland Kagen showed up with McCain and Graham with cookies in 2014 Ukraine to cheerlead overthrowing their government. By that point many years of prep and billions spent to bring us to where we are today. I don’t think this is a result of long term congressional planning. Not without a lot of “classified” blackmail.

    Reply
  20. young

    What’s funny about the claims that Trump is so dangerous, but he couldn’t put together a cabinet in four years to follow his policies, except Navarro.

    His AGs backstabbed him at every turn.

    As CinC, he couldn’t get the military out of Syria.

    But, he was going to lead the revolution to destroy our democracy.

    What a joke.

    Reply
    1. John Emerson

      He was less dangerous because he was impulsive and clownish. But yes, he tried to destroy our election system, and he got a lot of resistance from inside the system. And he hasn’t quit trying, and his mob is intact.

      The joke is on you.

      Reply
      1. lyman alpha blob

        It’s kind of hard to destroy something that had already been reduced to rubble. The fact that we have people in this country voting on hackable machines with no paper trail is a joke, and yet that was the solution Congress came up with after the 2000 election debacle. And now the guy who stole that election is treated like some kindly old elder statesman from the good old days. Those going after Trump are completely morally bankrupt themselves.

        Reply
          1. howseth

            “He was less dangerous because he was impulsive and clownish. But yes, he tried to destroy our election system, and he got a lot of resistance from inside the system. And he hasn’t quit trying, and his mob is intact.”

            Yeah, that’s what I can’t get out of my mind. Trump and his appointees running roughshod over the election.

            Reply
          2. lyman alpha blob

            The concept is called “context” by the non-Trump Deranged, not “whatboutism”. Looking at the forest instead of one orange tree lends a whole new perspective. In that regard, what he did was get elected president and act just like the rest of them, albeit more boorishly, which is what seems to have so many liberals’ knickers in a knot.

            And by liberals, I mean the kind Phil Ochs sang about.

            Reply
  21. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

    The two reasons Trump’s followers give for supporting him.

    1. He was a huuugely effective President accomplishing more good things than any President in history.
    2. He is totally ineffective and there is no way he could have organized the attempted coup.

    I agree.

    Reply
    1. spud

      TRUMP was a towering hugely successfull president when compared to bill clinton, barack obama, and joe biden, that is why he won the first time, and got ten million more votes the second time, and might get even more the next time.

      the bar that bill clinton, barack obama, and joe biden set, was so low, any drunk could accidentialy stumble over it.

      i have yet met anyone with TDS to show me one universal concrete material benefit we got from bill clinton, barack obama, and joe biden.

      you cannot name one. but there is a endless kicking in our teeth from those three.

      trump got rid of the TTP, the investor dispute mech., not one new war, told bill clintons fascist W.T.O. to go pound sand. $2,400 hundred dollars, then $1,400.00 dollars, and joe biden still owes me $600.00.

      gave mexicans a real minimum wage, and the right for independent labor unions, operation warp speed, tried to get us out of wars which enraged the democrats, and broke the back of the feverish hold the free traders(globalists)have on america and the world.

      all through trumps term wages exceeded inflation, and import prices fell. no wonder minorities warmed to him.

      there is probably more, but this shows what a towering success trump was compared to the last three democrats.

      as such, he was not what we needed, nor comparing others in americas history, he was really lousy.

      i voted ross twice, then nader, then green, got suckered by hope and change once, went back to the greens.

      Reply
      1. Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

        Uh, Trump was a “towering hugely successful president” . . . and that is why he won the first time???
        Hmmm.

        And he was so successful he got ten million more votes the second time . . . but lost by seven million.

        Perhaps Fox News and QAnon should not be your sole sources of information. Just a friendly thought.

        Reply
        1. spud

          yep, trump won the first time. did you recognize bill clintons wins? because if you did, bill clinton won the electoral college, just like trump.

          yep he may have lost the second time. but the reason why your type cannot drop TDS, is because you got into power, and have flubbed everything, and now another war. you fear he will win:)

          and you have not refuted one of my points on why trump was and is still so popular.

          nor have you acknowledge the democrats embrace of fascism.

          Reply
        2. Some Dude

          Are you truly unclear on why Trump won the first time?

          Deregulation=> Globalization, financialization and deindustrialization of the economy. Not to say there weren’t other secular forces (e.g., technological changes), but there were political decisions that clearly benefit the elite holders of capital (the 0.1%) as well as their flunkies in the professional managerial class (the 10%) over the middle and working class. You can measure the consequences in the rise of social pathology and the decline of household formation. Eventually it got so bad that life expectancy started to drop.

          Add in a forever war, that their sons disproportionately fought.
          Add in demographic change (both organic and targetted through immigration) that clearly diluted their political influence.
          Add in their traditional political party being captured by Wall Street through the DLC.
          Add in a cultural apparatus that systematically downplayed them and their concerns.

          The people in fly-over-country may not be as sophisticated as you. But they can tell the system is rigged against them and that things have gotten worse from what their parents had. To be honest, things looked hopeless and many people gave up to deaths of despair. Then suddenly Trump appears. He shares some of their values. (strong, patriarchal, pro-America, pro-capitalism) but he is imperfect, with a host of obvious flaws. Some of his flaws, like being crass, are actually strengths, they function as an FU to the PMC and a marker of authenticity. The biggest marker of authenticity was how much the PMC hated him. His best trait is that he is a fighter. Unlike Bernie who basically rolled over when the DNC put their finger on the scales to deny him the nomination TWICE, when Trump gets hit he punches back.

          (Incidentally, I supported and gave money to Bernie the first time.)

          Anyway, whether you like it or not, the mask is off of the system. Wide swaths of society* openly question the legitimacy of the Uniparty, the media, elections and the justice system. Trying to put the tooth paste back into the tube through cheap theatrics or even the raw exercise of power seems unlikely to work. I don’t know what happens next, but I’m worried. We are extraordinarily divided** and violence is shockingly normalized.***

          *In the Sept 6-7 Reuters/IPSOS poll 22% of Democrats, 65% of Republicans and 36% of Independents somewhat or strongly disagreed that elections are fair and legitimate.

          **Same poll 86% of D think MAGA is threatening the foundation of democracy, while 76% of R think MAGA is working to save America. (I’s split 62/38 between threatening/saving)

          *** Same poll 22% of D, 14% of R and 13% of I either somewhat or strongly supported political violence against their opponents.

          Reply
    2. Michael Ismoe

      Put your TDS down for a minute. It’s not about Trump. Let’s see how you feel when President Pompeo raids Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard estate.

      Reply
      1. John Emerson

        Yeah, that’s one of the threats Trump is making. Along with rousing his mob to do terrible things. And to you that proves what?

        Reply
      2. marym

        Speaking only for myself, but if someone can take Obama to court for turning his records over to NARA but failing to provide a library to make them available to the public, I’ll cheer them on. Especially if they make him restore the park he’s destroying to build the not-library.

        As for Trump, he walked off with boxes and boxes of government documents, refused to give them all back when asked or subpoenaed, co-mingled them with his correspondence with his personal attorney, passports and other personal items, and stored them in locations of varying degrees of security, all for no reason he’s ever given except his endless sense of personal entitlement. He created this situation. The establishment has been mean to him, but this is one of the cases where he’s the perpetrator, not the victim.

        Reply
  22. John Emerson

    Every time I read Naked Capitalism I learn something, and every time I go to the comments section I wish I hadn’t. See ya in a few months maybe.

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Don’t give up. One needs a thick skin to comment on the Internet. Even if it looks a bit ‘biased,’ one basic rule of communications is that every “exposure” of one’s preferred narrative is useful. It’s an Internet version of the Hollywood Axiom: ‘There is no such thing as bad publicity.’
      Stay safe, be sane.

      Reply
  23. Jj Messina

    Under normal circumstances, Trump’s hotel basement raid would have raise eyebrows, Trump’s legacy is beyond bad and criminal. His pardons alone are alarming. His lack of moral and ethical values does make him dangerous. The Jan 6th attack on Congress that left people dead was Trump’s doing, not the so-called deep state. The first attack since the British set fire to the building in 1814. The investigation process must be allowed to continue. Reading some of the comments, there are allusions to the founding fathers as if their writings applied, however marginally. They don’t. Trump’s own Chiefs of Staff are now public of how 1) ignorant 2) trump flushed down sensitive documents 3) the extent of how corrupt Trump is well establish. is. This isn’t about ideology, but yet another example of looting the national treasury and destruction of the country. But some people seems to embrace “ autocracy, wrapped in a tabloid veneer.” Sure, lawyers will try to challenge and defend Trump, much as the Florida judge has, but none of those arguments seem to stick. As a Republican, it’s shocking that what can only be described as neo-fascism passing a Republicanism is being legitimized.

    So far, none of the arguments against the raid hold sway. In the meantime, Trump continues to apply his late advisor’s lessons: his close relationship to political operative “Roy Cohn, who, taught Trump to “counterattack, lie, threaten, sue, and never back down.”

    Reply
    1. spud

      i thought you were describing bill clintons shocking pardons.

      https://nypost.com/2016/01/17/after-pardoning-criminal-marc-rich-clintons-made-millions-off-friends/

      Bill Clinton’s pardon of fugitive Marc Rich continues to pay big.

      i thought you were talking about the morals of bill clinton, barack obama and joe biden,

      meet the women who is still fighting bill clintons viscous attack on women and children: Bill Clinton was a pretty good liar too. Donald Trump is a liar, but Clinton was also a liar: what happened after the Bill Clinton and Republican Congress created this law, is that things just went in the opposite direction, and it was just a story of compulsion and driving people away. And ultimately, of getting people to not even ask, to not even apply for the benefits. And I think that was the real purpose of the law

      “bill clinton did this,

      For one class of Americans, Clinton brought emancipation, a prayed-for deliverance from out of Glass–Steagall’s house of bondage. For another class of Americans, Clinton brought discipline: long prison stretches for drug users; perpetual insecurity for welfare mothers; and intimidation for blue-collar workers whose bosses Clinton thoughtfully armed with the North American Free Trade Agreement. As I have written elsewhere, some got the carrot, others got the stick.”

      https://fair.org/home/this-is-about-systematically-impoverishing-people/

      November 29, 2018
      ‘This Is About Systematically Impoverishing People’

      https://www.cbsnews.com/news/banks-are-stealing-homes-why-wont-obama-stop-it/

      https://medium.com/@leonardosantoro_39961/joe-biden-has-been-credibly-accused-of-rape-the-public-response-has-been-appalling-f678433ccf98

      looting!

      the repeal of glass-steagle and free trade crashed the economy in 2008, bill clinton lied to us: bernie was cheated by the clintonites, “the business model of Wall Street is fraud.” here is bernie discrediting hillarys support of the repeal of glass-steagle, one of many of bill clintons unpopular disastrous polices: Sen. Sanders is right. Here are five reasons why it is important to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act.

      The Clinton era epitomized the vast difference between appearance and reality, spin and actuality. As the decade drew to a close, Clinton basked in the glow of a lofty stock market, a budget surplus and the passage of this key banking “modernization.” It would be revealed in the 2000s that many corporate profits of the 1990s were based on inflated evaluations, manipulation and fraud. When Clinton left office, the gap between rich and poor was greater than it had been in 1992, and yet the Democrats heralded him as some sort of prosperity hero.

      https://berniesanders.com/yes-glass-steagall-matters-here-are-5-reasons-why/

      Bernie Sanders

      Wall Street
      5 Reasons Glass-Steagall Matters
      November 16, 2015
      | by Richard Eskow

      https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2022/08/11/when-will-the-fbi-raid-obamas-home-over-his-missing-records-n2611588

      if you want to see a real coup, as lambert says, look at Myanmar.

      your talking points obviously look pre-prepared:)

      Reply

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