Which Rotten Fruit Falls First?

To those of us who understand the entire status quo is rotten and corrupt to its core, the confidence of each ideological camp that their side will emerge unscathed by investigation is a source of amusement. The fake-progressives (fake because these so-called “progressives” support Imperial over-reach and a status quo whose only possible output is soaring wealth and income inequality) are confident that a “smoking gun” of corruption will deliver their most fervent dream, the impeachment of President Trump, while Trump supporters are equally confident there is no “smoking gun.”

One camp is confident that the wily Clintons and their army of enablers, from former FBI Director Comey on down, will finally be brought to long-evaded justice for their various perfections of corruption and collusion: pay to play, and so on.

Clinton supporters are equally confident that there is no “smoking gun” that will bring down the House of Clinton, and by proxy, the organs of the Democratic Party.

The implicit historical model each camp is anticipating is of course Watergate, which unfolded with a dramatic inevitability that in retrospect almost seems scripted: a minor burglary led to the hubris of cover-up which led to the destruction of the Nixon presidency.

Often overlooked in this history is the key roles played by insider informants (such as Deep Throat) and the wider political demands for greater transparency the scandal triggered. The Church Committee ended up investigating the illegal campaigns of the FBI and CIA against the anti-war and civil rights movements (COINTELPRO etc.), and a small dent was made in the federal government’s decades-long reliance on official secrecy to cover up official corruption, collusion, malfeasance, lies, etc.– the ugly underbelly of agencies protecting the Empire from any inconvenient leaks of truth.

I submit that Watergate will not be the template for the multiple investigations being pursued in the present. It seems highly likely to me that who and what gets taken down by the investigations is much less predictable than in the Watergate template, which distilled down to an escalating campaign of cover-ups and stonewalling which simply compounded the crimes previously committed.

I submit that the investigations launched with an implicit intent of bringing down selected targets may well end up destroying people and institutions that weren’t in the crosshairs. The reason why this seems so likely is that the entire status quo is corrupt: the fraud, pay-to-play, lies and collusion are institutionalized and system-wide, and once some investigation drills a hole in the dam of secrecy and collusion, the hole may quickly widen as the fetid gush of hidden truths pours out.

In other words, when the entire status quo is corrupt and hiding its collusion, gathering evidence to nail one target inevitably tugs loose other threads, threads that the original investigators reckoned could be safely left untouched.

It doesn’t work that way, folks. Insiders end up releasing more than investigators bargained for, and all it takes is one insider and one journalist who isn’t beholden to a colluding-insider corporate boss to widen the hole in the dam into a veritable flood.

Longtime readers know I have long made the case that the Deep State has fractured into competing camps. For example:

Is the Deep State Fracturing into Disunity? (March 14, 2014)

Surplus Repression and the Self-Defeating Deep State (May 26, 2015)

Public investigations are one field where this conflict plays out, but unfortunately for the players, it’s a game that’s easier to start than to control.

For this reason, I predict the current investigations will widen and take a variety of twists and turns that surprise all those anticipating a tidy, narrowly focused denouement. Which of the many rotten fruits will fall first? How many will fall by the time the investigations have burned through a corrupt status quo that’s exquisitely vulnerable to a single lightning strike? Only one lightning strike is needed to ignite the combustible corruption and trigger a conflagration tha quickly escapes the handlers’ control.

If you want a recent example of this dynamic, consider Harvey Weinstein, a mere brush fire that may well spread further and faster than the handlers expect.

For more on the systemic nature of corruption in our status quo, please check out my books:

Resistance, Revolution, Liberation

Why Our Status Quo Failed and Is Beyond Reform

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  • jadan

    Trump was the man who was going to drain the swamp. I don’t know of another president who lies so brazenly as this one and brags about how smart he is for being a tax evader. It is naive to suppose that investigators, whether they be a special counsel or a congressional committee, are going to drain the swamp, either. Corruption today is not something that can be removed through political and legal surgery. No Church Committee could emerge today. This is 2017, that was 1975. There was no universal surveillance in 1975, no Patriot Act, no “unitary executive”, and the media was not consolidated and right of center as it is today. It is more likely that the pervasive systemic corruption we have cannot be fixed. Investigations will be ignored. Trump represents the political triumph of systemic corruption. Checks and balances don’t work. The three branches have no political spine and the fourth estate has been bought by the Koch brothers, so to speak. The prognosis is chronic dysfunction and zombie apocalypse.

    • Jed Grover

      You’ve just described the characteristics of a sophisticated mafia which I agree. The organized mob! Guess whose being extorted?

    • Trump simply played the same – Change you can believe in – card that worked so well for Obama.

      • jadan

        Good insight! Have not seen that. Obama was selling change to good government serving the people, and Trump was selling change to less government interference with profit seekers. Trump is the ideological stooge of the Koch brothers free market nonsense. Obama is the beleaguered liberal, target of the vast right wing conspiracy. The most money wins. There is no rule of law in an oligarchy/mafia. No investigation is going to return the power of government to the people. That requires a revolution.

        • I should make a correction – behind Trump is Kushner – don’t underestimate that little Zionist who happens to be Trumps senior adviser.

          You’re correct about a revolution – in a best case scenario parts of the armed forces should side with the people.

  • Tom Paine

    As Gandhi pointed out all tyrannical empires fall, always; look at what he did against the most powerful empire the world had seen in hundreds of years and the so-called disparity of relative power conventionally concieved.
    We the people have power if only we use it and unite as Gandhi understood and refuse to cooperate. We have given them that power. We can take it away if we are willing to suffer and struggle. As Tom Petty sang everybody’s got to fight to be free. Keep the faith and free other’s from the brainwashing; help them leave the matrix and join us.

    • sometime

      yes and do not forget…
      according to Margret Mead
      ” never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed. It is the only thing that ever has. “

      • jadan

        Jane Mayer’s “Dark Money” describes a small group of dedicated, thoughtful, and above all, rich citizens who make up the Koch brothers donor’s network, capable of spending hundreds of millions to buy elections without breathing hard. This billionaires club, of which Trump is a member, is changing the world, flying in the face of public opinion and any democratic process. We have an oligarchy which has displaced the republic. Never doubt that a small group..blah…blah…blah… you just assume this group is democratic when it could just as well be fascist.

  • ICFubar

    Smith’s assumption that an proper investigation may indict the whole rotten bipartisan swamp may come to pass, especially if a couple of criminals receive amnesty for ratting out all the others. Or the whole syndicate may close ranks while offering up a few well paid off individuals to take the fall so that business may proceed, if not as usual. My guess will be the later if the syndicate can act quickly enough to corral the already unraveling situation but they would need to act very quickly indeed if they haven’t already set a mitigating plan into action?

  • Which rotten fruit falls first – doesn’t really matter does it – once an orchard is infested with disease its best to put the bulldozer through it and start afresh.