FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

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

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
January 24, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
A Letter From Iowa
Jim Kavanagh
Aftermath: The Iran War After the Soleimani Assassination
Jeffrey St. Clair
The Camp by the Lake
Chuck Churchill
The Long History of Elite Rule: What Will It Take To End It?
Robert Hunziker
A Climate Time Bomb With Trump’s Name Inscribed
Andrew Levine
Trump: The King
Jess Franklin
Globalizing the War on Indigenous People: Bolsonaro and Modi
James Graham
From Paris, With Tear Gas…
Rob Urie
Why the Primaries Matter
Dan Bacher
Will the Extinction of Delta Smelt Be Governor Gavin Newsom’s Environmental Legacy?
Ramzy Baroud
In the Name of “Israel’s Security”: Retreating US Gives Israel Billions More in Military Funding
Vijay Prashad
What the Right Wing in Latin America Means by Democracy Is Violence
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Biden’s Shameful Foreign Policy Record Extends Well Beyond Iraq
Louis Proyect
Isabel dos Santos and Africa’s Lumpen-Bourgeoisie
Nick Pemberton
AK-46: The Case Against Amy Klobuchar
Evaggelos Vallianatos
Promtheus’ Fire: Climate Change in the Time of Willful Ignorance
Linn Washington Jr.
Waiting for Justice in New Jersey
Ralph Nader
Pelosi’s Choice: Enough for Trump’s Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
Mike Garrity – Jason Christensen
Don’t Kill 72 Grizzly Bears So Cattle Can Graze on Public Lands
Joseph Natoli
Who’s Speaking?
Kavaljit Singh
The US-China Trade Deal is Mostly Symbolic
Cesar Chelala
The Coronavirus Serious Public Health Threat in China
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Must Remain Vigilant and on Guard Against US Hybrid Warfare
Robert Fantina
Impeachment as a Distraction
Courtney Bourgoin
What We Lose When We Lose Wildlife
Mark Ashwill
Why Constructive Criticism of the US is Not Anti-American
Daniel Warner
Charlie Chaplin and Truly Modern Times
Manuel Perez-Rocha
How NAFTA 2.0 Boosts Fossil Fuel Polluters, Particularly in Mexico
Dean Baker
What Minimum Wage Would Be If It Kept Pace With Productivity
Mel Gurtov
India’s Failed Democracy
Thomas Knapp
US v. Sineneng-Smith: Does Immigration Law Trump Free Speech?
Winslow Myers
Turning Point: The new documentary “Coup 53”
Jeff Mackler
U.S. vs. Iran: Which Side are You On?
Sam Pizzigati
Braggadocio in the White House, Carcinogens in Our Neighborhoods
Christopher Brauchli
The Company Trump Keeps
Julian Vigo
Why Student Debt is a Human Rights Issue
Ramzy Baroud
These Chains Will Be Broken
Chris Wright
A Modest Proposal for Socialist Revolution
Thomas Barker
The Slow Death of European Social Democracy: How Corbynism Bucked the Trend
Nicky Reid
It’s Time to Bring the War Home Again
Michelle Valadez
Amy Klobuchar isn’t Green
David Swanson
CNN Poll: Sanders Is The Most Electable
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Our Dire Need for “Creative Extremists”—MLK’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Jill Richardson
‘Little Women’ and the American Attitude Toward Poverty
David Yearsley
Watching Star Wars in Berlin
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail