FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Brennan, Venality and Turpitude

John Brennan was CIA director from March 2013 to January 2017. If there is a “deep state” he’s been a key figure in it in recent history. So it’s particularly significant when he tweets, addressing the president: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

Whoa. This is unusual.

The proximate cause of the tweet was the abrupt and cruelly punitive dismissal of McCabe, the FBI Deputy Director, under fire from Trump in the past. Reports of disillusionment and despair in the “intelligence community” regarding Trump are legion. (Among other things, it’s hard to be an empiricist under a delusional Caesar. You cannot tell him, no, your horse cannot be a senator. He will not hear you.) But now you have Savonarola-like general condemnations of the man’s venality.

It’s not about Russia. It’s about turpitude. (As you know, this term means inherent baseness and depravity, so the former head of the U.S. intelligence agencies is saying that Trump is in the most fundamental sense an asshole.) Here he echoes the outgoing secretary of state’s empirical observation that Trump is a moron. Tillerson was referring to Trump’s manifest ignorance of foreign and military affairs; Brennan to Trump’s general asininity.

A vast array of powerful, influential figures are building their various cases to bring down this asshole. His unleashing of vituperation at random targets in his irrational way has invited sharp language in return. Not just among the people and press of course; that’s been the case since the election. Nor even among the intelligence community; didn’t 50 intelligence officials identifying as Republicans sign a letter in August 2016 declaring that Donald J. Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being”? But now he’s at war with Brennan, former (fired) FBI director Comey, and McCabe, all of whom will be speaking out more, addressing in part deep state actors who can help undermine the regime.

Trump in his spontaneous tweets has castigated the FBI for “corruption at the highest level.” There is an obvious, deepening contradiction between the “intelligence community” and the executive.

Trump has reportedly asked deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. A reckless move by Trump to close down the Mueller investigation will likely create a general political crisis. It could bring him down. But will “America triumph” over Trump as Brennan suggests? Should Trump fall, America will be saddled with Pence. There is no triumph in sight, just more corruption and oppression.

***

I keep thinking of that Classics IV song from 1968: “Oh, stormy, oh, stormy, bring back that sunny day.”

Stormy Daniels could possibly do what the Russia probe won’t do. Should she charge the president with a threat of physical violence to insure her paid silence about a three-month affair, his ass may be grass. But again, his departure will change little. And there’s no sunny day to go back to. Just venality and turpitude.

More articles by:

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, (AK Press). He can be reached at: gleupp@tufts.edu

September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail