#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor We should take a moment to consider is the idea of P2S2E. Once upon a time, Salman Rushdie described the idea of P2C2E, or, "processes 2 complicated 2 explain". The current state of American political discourse involves a different idea, P2S2E, or, "processes 2 stupid 2 expect". There is something about the Trump administration and political movement that seems unbelievable in any number of ways. It's not healthy to fixate on, but at some point we need to account for the easy line Republicans have finally made true, that if a writer handed in a script like this, it would be rejected for offensive absurdity. Those in it for two-bit entertainment, or whose idea of political discourse runs more akin to professional wrestling than any pretense of sophistry, enlightenment, and even utility, might see some of the President's behavior as just an escalation of the same old, but if we think back to June, we might recall Rudy Giuliani on a bizarre adventure virtually convicting Donald Trump with public statements about the Mueller investigation, and explaining he was politicking for the impeachment; and that would be just one example, rather minor, at that, of how stupid things are getting. † Bizarre trivia: Thirty years ago, Spy magazine ran a prank in which they dispensed real checks for $1.11, under the pretense of some fake refund, to fifty-eight really, really rich people. If they cashed the check, another check was sent, for sixty-four cents. If they cashed that check, a third was sent, for thirteen cents. The two rich men who cashed checks for thirteen cents were Donald Trump and a Saudi arms dealer who turned up in the Iran-Contra affair, named Adnan Khashoggi. Adnan was uncle to the lately murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The band Queen named a stage character after him, and also wrote a song called "Khashoggi's Ship". And we might note, of that ridiculously expensive yacht, there came a point when the arms dealer needed money, so he sold the boat to Donald Trump. At this point, so deeply into so ridiculous a paragraph, it seems almost extraneous to add that Jamal Khashoggi, in addition to being Adnan's nephew, was also first cousin to Dodi Fayed, who died beside Diana of Wales twenty-one years ago. † At some point, there are only so many really, really rich people in the world. Intersections like that paragraph about Trump and Khashoggi do happen, and seem spectacularly ridiculous, but sometimes only emerge when something else makes them stand out. Nonetheless, we're talking about a very small data set; the global one percent would be about seventy million people; the Trump-Khashoggi intersection occurs within a set of thousands. Some similar principle exists and operates in virtually any nation's politics. There are, for instance, only so many lawyers with Supreme Court experience; there are only so many with experience representing before Congress; there are only so many qualified and capable in federal court arguing complex cases like health care, corporate taxes, national security, &c. Even still, the bit with President Trump and lawyers is crazy. † Set Giuliani aside for a moment. If it seems ridiculous that we might be able to make some sort of joke, no matter how grim, about sex offenders, and actually have a point instead of simply being rude and disgusting, I don't think I would protest the assessment. However, that absurdity is imposed by the election of a boasting sex offender to the presidency, as well as the flaming excremental pageant of sex offenders orbiting Donald Trump. It is hard to keep up with everything askew and amiss about the Trump presidency; back in January, chatter of a mystery witness in the Mueller investigation, and as this strange, ostensible associate of Steve Bannon emerged, it turned out that while George Nader claimed personal ties to the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, veteran foreign policy hands in D.C. had no idea who he was. In a blog post at the time I suggested that any other day we might wonder at this person who nobody ever heard of, &c., but this is the Trump administration, so, yeah, sounds about right, and the real question would be to wonder where this thread of the story goes. But it was an easy line, at that point, and here we are, nine months later, and it is nearly impossible to keep up with how deeply involved Nader is in the question of foreign corruption relating to Donald Trump's election and presidency. He touches virtually everything; if you had a conspiracy wall, it would be impossible to not wonder at the convicted sex offender with that many strings tacked to his photo. No, really, he's a convicted sex offender. And because of his role in issues pertaining to Saudi Arabia and the UAE, appears connected to questions about Russia, China, and even the Malaysian embezzlement scandal. Something about lawyers goes here. The setup is harder to explain, but Trump wound up with John Dowd and Ty Cobb on his legal team because everyone around him was smarter and faster than he was. Abbe Lowell, for instance, would have been great, except Jared Kushner, for instance, hired him. There were even conflicts for Emmett Flood to resolve before he could do whatever it is he thinks he can do for Donald Trump. And all around the President, this happened. Go down the list; everyone started hiring good lawyers. Donald Trump was too busy watching FOX News and thinking whatever it was he thought he was thinking. But, speaking of FOX News, at one point Trump thought to hire former U.S. Attorney, conspiracist, and FOX News contributor Joe DiGenova, and his wife, Valerie Toensing. And then it didn't happen. Something about not liking the way they presented themselves, or some such, was the public reason, but Trump's former legal team spokesperson had already hired Toensing, while apparently rolling on former White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, who has, with help of the RNC, retained a better lawyer than Joe DiGenova. But the thing about DiGenova is that, well, there are only a finite number of U.S. Attorneys, &c. And I mentioned that George Nader was a convicted sex offender: overseas in 2002, for abusing young boys; records have emerged showing a plea in 1991, in an American court, to a child pornography charge. But here is a plot twist: In 1985, the federal government had Nader on a similar pornography charge, but lost because State botched a search warrant, somehow. Thirty-three years later, the sex offender finds himself at the center of an extraordinary international intrigue with potential to bring down a presidency, and Donald Trump, allegedly because he watches FOX News, tried to hire the former U.S. Attorney who saw the Nader case slip away for the loss of a warrant. And, yet, because this is Donald freaking Trump, and slow to the punch, he couldn't hire DiGenova for being married to the lawyer representing the President's former legal team spokesperson who is in turn rolling against the Trump administration. † There is a lot of overlap in such rarified circles, but even the tale of Donald Trump and attorneys for the Mueller investigation is, comparatively, gobsmacking absurdity. That is, there is always reason for a certain appearance of absurdity, but genuinely absurd conduct occurring within even that closed context really stands out. But what we really need to attend is simply the fact that such discussions as Nader-DiGenova can actually happen. That isn't the normal sort of close-knit cozy perpetually making Americans uncomfortable; in fact, it's pretty spectacular. By scale, the bit with DiGenova vested by his wife's client and thus unable to represent Trump is not, in and of itself, unusual. There are, after all, only so many former U.S. Attorneys running these practices with this or that specialty or even bar certification; these appearances of conflict will occasionally arise. However, the fact that Trump found himself raking this crop for an attorney because everyone else around the President of the United States already retained the top shelf while he was wallowing in FOXy conspiracism and neurotic, self-assured poodling, is somewhat remarkable in the annals of bad politics. The glimmer of a prospective DiGenova-Nader rematch is itself statistically aberrant just because; those are exceptionally extraordinary circumstances, comparatively speaking. The point of a twice-convicted child predator who once slipped away on a warrant gloss having so notable an appearance of being some sort of linchpin in either international conspiracy or else an insane coincidence of persuasively unlikely unrelated events is in and of itself immeasurable. † This is too stupid to expect: Imagine how dumb you'd have to be to try to frame the most powerful prosecutor in the entire country with a fake intel firm tied to your mom's phone number and your personal email account. (@williamlegate↱) The problem is, LeGate isn't joking. "And then," he adds, "doubling down after you've been caught." He really ought to be joking. And, yet ... well, I suppose whining, right-wing twitterati isn't exactly a rare, or even specialized circumstance. And this is where Trump supporters have arrived: A semiprofessional twit trying to take down Robert Mueller with a fake intel firm tied to himself and his mother. ____________________ Notes: @williamlegate. "Imagine how dumb you'd have to be ...." Twitter. 31 October 2018. Twitter.com. 31 October 2018. http://bit.ly/2qmPE0A Rushdie, Salman. Haroun and the Sea of Stories. London: Granta, 1990.