Cohen Revelations: BIG Stage for More Shenanigans, Finger Pointing, and Recriminations!
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Photo: Andrew Harnik

Cohen Revelations: BIG Stage for More Shenanigans, Finger Pointing, and Recriminations!


What is all this Cohen testimony about?

Have you been listening to Cohen's (Trump's former attorney) testimony to Congress? They are much akin Andy North testimony over the Iran-Contra deal - if you are old or well read enough to remember. And even before, the Watergate hearings, something that I came home to watch every afternoon while in high school.

I have always thought that discussions between a lawyer and his client were TOTALLY confidential, just like those between a priest and a sinner! Often, they are one and the same; however, today we won’t dive deep into that comparison. There are some exceptions, albeit weak:  making exceptions to the confidentiality rule by lawyers which covers disclosures as authorized by law.

Lawyer-client confidentiality is supposed to be sacrosanct. But the fact that Cohen is willing to violate it so freely and that Congress has brought him into blab tells you how serious this matter has become—at least in the opinion of some small-minded people.

Or, what a convenient, e.g., “Red Herring” to distract from REAL problems facing the US and the Trump Administration!

Pot Calling Kettle Black  

As described in the international press, Michael Cohen raised a litany of allegations against his former boss Donald Trump in explosive testimony before the Congress this last week, implicating the president and his inner circle in potential criminal wrongdoings on multiple accounts.

It is entertaining to see the Republicans attack him, as it shows their desperation in trying to defend a lost cause with Trump. However, their real motivations for bringing a discredited and convicted felon to speech are highly suspect.  If the President crashes and burns in a ball of fire then, many rank-and-file Republicans will be collateral damage. So it serves their purpose to discredit Cohen for his obvious lack of veracity and moral principles.  

What really got exposed were some shady real estate dealings, payoff to high-profile call girls, “deal-making” over the proposed construction of a Trump Tower in Moscow, even while Trump  was running for president in the 2016 campaign, and a range of other shady “dead beat” behavior.  

Other allegations were more ego- related, when Trump inflated his net worth for the sake of trying to make it into Forbes’ list of the richest men. But when time came to pay taxes, he tried to claim just the opposite. All these allegations fall short of high crimes and treason. And Cohen comes off just as a disgruntled former lawyer who had to take the fall for willing to do anything to help his client.  He is also one that is trying to get a bit of revenge on his former boss and perhaps get his three year Federal Sentence for lying under oath and tax evasion reduced. Considering the amount involved, and just how blatant and constant were his lies, Cohen’s sentence is but a slap on the wrist by most standards.

Certainly, Trump and his family members are guilty of many felonies, insurance fraud, and failing to pay contractors. It is not as if none of us knew anything about these allegations. On the other hand, take the Whitewater real estate deal when Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas and the many other shady activities of the Clinton Foundation.  Are they also not criminal activities, and there have been efforts to bury the scope of the crimes related to these?

Two Wrongs Don’t Make a Right

Perhaps some of the more colorful was having a shill by a portrait of him at auction with funds siphoned off from the Trump foundation and then turning back over to him for self-glorification.

My first line of thought is that people in business cannot and should not become politicians—and the electorate should have known that before electing a con artist to the highest office.  It reminds me of the Shame of the Cities, by Lincoln Steffens, which makes it clear as to why a businessman can never be a politician. The businessman has failed in politics as he has in citizenship-being a good law abiding citizen.

The commercial spirit is the spirit of profit, not patriotism; of credit, not honor; of individual gain, not national prosperity; of trade and dickering, not principle. “My business is sacred,” says the businessman in his heart. “Whatever prospers my business is good; it must be. Whatever hinders it is wrong; it must be.

Lincoln Steffens, The Shame of the Cities (New York: McClure, Philips & Co., 1904), 1–18

Steffens describes how the spirit of graft and lawlessness is the American spirit. In today’s reality, and in the light of Cohen’s tirade, it would be more interesting to focus on Trump’s connection to Georgian and Russian mafia, and arms dealers, as described in failed deals and for comparative purpose, previously failed deals with relatives of the Clinton Whitehouse—over hazelnuts land deals in former Soviet Georgia, from where I have a front row street.

Craig Unger, a New York Times bestselling author of House of Trump has traced the deep-rooted alliance between the highest echelons of American political operatives and the biggest players in the frightening underworld of the Russian Mafia. He may be the closest muckraker of today’s generation to the spirit of Lincoln Steffens and other muckrakers of his day. 

What many people fail to realize is that Donald Trump is more street savvy than educated; he is not a self-made billionaire, rather someone who by hook-and-crook gained his claimed fortune, starting with money from his rich father. His purpose for being in the White House is to make money for himself. But then he is no exception.  It leaves little to the imagination as he threatened legal action if any of his former schools would release his grades or SAT standardized test scores.

Lame Political Machine

Much of this political and even economic success can be attributed to the lame US political machine, free advertising by those who so hate him the most, MSM, and a lineup of weak but equally wannabe richer contenders for the Republican nomination. The failing of the American system, lack of participatory democracy,  is how Trump got to be the so-called leader of the free world.

It was, in fact, the endemic corruption in the Democratic Party and the attempt to create a dynasty by the Clinton Administration which helped him more to get elected than his own mastery of social media and the Art of the Deal.  

It is nothing but pathological lies that constantly flow from his mouth, with few exceptions, like those concerning the Washington Post and the body count of upwards of 9,000 lies—and in just two years.

But on the flip side, Cohen’s current recriminations are mild in comparison, and likely will not amount to anything that is prosecutable, at least as long as Trump is in office and can even get reelected.

But all these recriminations do provide a convenient distraction form a foreign policy run by the military industrial complex which is buttressed with the trashing of treaties and long-standing practices of diplomacy and international law.  The US and the Trump Administration has done more during Trump’s tenure to destabilize the world in so many places, and at one go making a mockery of everything it means to be American.

I also understand that many states are attacking the Electoral College, as they want to rewrite the rules of elections for their own gains—using Trump as the excuse.  Democracy appears to be dead on arrival in the US and States Rights have been tossed out the door—another legacy of the Trump years and the effort of his gangs of thieves and cutthroats to pull the wool over our eyes.

Not that we had much of a choice as to who would be elected president of the US in 2016. And looking at the future it would not surprise me that Trump will be re-elected, and will even remain popular.  Who really cares, as long as Americans hear what they want, “Make America Great Again,” and are delusional enough to think they are part of something BIGGER.

In actuality Trump is doing a service to all by keeping the pot stirred, and letting the parties of war make money. He is doing great, with the help of Cohen, the FBI, and Congress in distracting attention from the REAL problems facing America.

Lincoln Steffens said it best over 100 years ago:

You may blame the politicians, or, indeed, any one class, but not all classes, not the people. Or you may put it on the ignorant foreign immigrant, or any one nationality, but not on all nationalities, not on the American people. But no one class is at fault, nor any one breed, nor any particular interest or group of interests. The misgovernment of the American people is misgovernment by the American people.

It is so much easier to blame outsiders or those on the other side of the political divide for all that has gone wrong.  It is time to build that Wall, but not to stop foreigners from coming in BUT to keep Americans and US foreign policy from being spread to “far away” lands and making a muck of things even there as well.

Author: Jeffrey Silverman