FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Send in the Clown: Scaramucci Versus the Leakers

In Italian  comic theater, Scaramouche is a clown, the boastful poltroon whose antics frequently bring him to grief.Presumably new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci’s name is related  to that tradition.

His personality seems tailored to it as well: He’s off to a running start with the boast that he’s going to put a stop to White House leaks. How? “I’ll fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it. You’re either going to stop leaking or you’re going to be fired.”

That would be cool, if he meant it and if the people he pink-slipped wouldn’t be replaced. But even draconian measures like mass firings won’t stop the leaks.

In Washington information is currency and there will always be staffers who are willing to spend a little of it in pursuit of their own careers and political goals. A White House job is at most a four to eight year gig, and unless you’re the president himself (maybe even then!) the goal is to use it to move up in the world. A positive relationship with the press comes in handy on that front.

Also, a good many White House leaks are approved of, and perhaps even originate with, people Scaramucci can’t fire. That includes one Donald Trump, aka the Leaker in Chief, aka POTUS. Sometimes it makes sense to let a piece of information — for example, a trial balloon concerning a tentative policy shift — come out via leak instead of formal public announcement so that it can be quietly quashed in the event of negative public response.

Scaramucci will fail in his boast. The White House will continue to leak like a sieve. He’ll either get used to it and turn his attention to other matters, or get fired over it, or both.

That’s a good thing. It’s exactly what Scaramucci would want if he subscribed to the high school civics version of politics. Per that mythos, “the people” are boss and Donald Trump and Anthony Scaramucci are mere hirelings. Any information they have, we’re entitled to, and leaks are as good a way to get it to us as any.

Of course Scaramucci and other members of the political class don’t believe that for a minute. To them, “the people” are so many piggy banks to be emptied and cows to be milked in pursuit of power.

Fortunately for us, reality has come into alignment with the mythos. The age of government secrecy is over. If Scaramucci doesn’t believe me, he might want to ask Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, or Julian Assange.  As Jesus said, “there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.”

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

June 19, 2019
Matthew Stevenson
Requiem for a Lightweight: the Mayor Pete Factor
Kenneth Surin
In China Again
Stephen Cooper
Abolishing the Death Penalty Requires Morality
George Ochenski
The DNC Can’t Be Allowed to Ignore the Climate Crisis
John W. Whitehead
The Omnipresent Surveillance State
William Camacaro - Frederick B. Mills
Guaidó’s Star Fades as His Envoys to Colombia Allegedly Commit Fraud With Humanitarian Funds for Venezuela
Dave Lindorff
What About Venezuela’s Hacked Power Grid?
Howard Lisnoff
Try Not to Look Away
Binoy Kampmark
Matters of Water: Dubious Approvals and the Adani Carmichael Mine
Karl Grossman
The Battle to Stop the Shoreham Nuclear Plant, Revisited
Kani Xulam
Farting in a Turkish Mosque
Dean Baker
New Manufacturing Jobs are Not Union Jobs
Elizabeth Keyes
“I Can’t Believe Alcohol Is Stronger Than Love”
June 18, 2019
John McMurtry
Koch-Oil Big Lies and Ecocide Writ Large in Canada
Robert Fisk
Trump’s Evidence About Iran is “Dodgy” at Best
Yoav Litvin
Catch 2020 – Trump’s Authoritarian Endgame
Thomas Knapp
Opposition Research: It’s Not Trump’s Fault That Politics is a “Dirty” Game
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
U.S. Sanctions: Economic Sabotage that is Deadly, Illegal and Ineffective
Gary Leupp
Marx and Walking Zen
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Color Revolution In Hong Kong: USA Vs. China
Howard Lisnoff
The False Prophets Cometh
Michael T. Klare
Bolton Wants to Fight Iran, But the Pentagon Has Its Sights on China
Steve Early
The Global Movement Against Gentrification
Dean Baker
The Wall Street Journal Doesn’t Like Rent Control
Tom Engelhardt
If Trump’s the Symptom, Then What’s the Disease?
June 17, 2019
Patrick Cockburn
The Dark Side of Brexit: Britain’s Ethnic Minorities Are Facing More and More Violence
Linn Washington Jr.
Remember the Vincennes? The US’s Long History of Provoking Iran
Geoff Dutton
Where the Wild Things Were: Abbey’s Road Revisited
Nick Licata
Did a Coverup of Who Caused Flint Michigan’s Contaminated Water Continue During Its Investigation? 
Binoy Kampmark
Julian Assange and the Scales of Justice: Exceptions, Extraditions and Politics
John Feffer
Democracy Faces a Global Crisis
Louisa Willcox
Revamping Grizzly Bear Recovery
Stephen Cooper
“Wheel! Of! Fortune!” (A Vegas Story)
Daniel Warner
Let Us Laugh Together, On Principle
Brian Cloughley
Trump Washington Detests the Belt and Road Initiative
Weekend Edition
June 14, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Michael Hudson
Trump’s Trade Threats are Really Cold War 2.0
Bruce E. Levine
Tom Paine, Christianity, and Modern Psychiatry
Jason Hirthler
Mainstream 101: Supporting Imperialism, Suppressing Socialism
T.J. Coles
How Much Do Humans Pollute? A Breakdown of Industrial, Vehicular and Household C02 Emissions
Andrew Levine
Whither The Trump Paradox?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: In the Land of 10,000 Talkers, All With Broken Tongues
Pete Dolack
Look to U.S. Executive Suites, Not Beijing, For Why Production is Moved
Paul Street
It Can’t Happen Here: From Buzz Windrip and Doremus Jessup to Donald Trump and MSNBC
Rob Urie
Capitalism Versus Democracy
Richard Moser
The Climate Counter-Offensive: Secrecy, Deception and Disarming the Green New Deal
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail