Mar 032018
 

With many thanks to Guy for “a fascinating read” from The Atlantic magazine, by Franklin Foer:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/paul-manafort-american-hustler/550925/

To me, it’s more threads of the American Dream unraveling.

  • American “foreign service” – – John Perkins blew the whistle in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hit Man“.
  • the American War Machine – – Daniel Ellsberg’s most recent book, “The Doomsday Machine, Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner” (2017) blows the whistle.  You’ll be shaking your head in disbelief if you read it.
  • Wall Street – –

Now Manafort, through whose story:

  • “we can see the full extent to which corruption has become the master narrative of our times.”

Manafort, of course, did not step forward voluntarily!  There are no “confessions”.   The whistle blowing has been done by Special Investigator, Robert Mueller  (Wikipedia summary of the investigations and outcomes-to-date are at:   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Counsel_investigation_(2017%E2%80%93present)).

(Both Perkins and Ellsberg have long been, and remain active in Fightin’ the Good Fight, hard.  Stop the Insanity.)

 

The write-up on Manafort is well organized, the story well told.  Again,  the URL for the full article:   https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/03/paul-manafort-american-hustler/550925/

EXCERPT, in case you’re short of time (the article ends with):

From both the Panama Papers and the Paradise Papers, vast disclosures illuminating previously hidden offshore accounts of the rich and powerful worldwide, we can see the full extent to which corruption has become the master narrative of our times. We live in a world of smash-and-grab fortunes, amassed through political connections and outright theft. Paul Manafort, over the course of his career, was a great normalizer of corruption. The firm he created in the 1980s obliterated traditional concerns about conflicts of interest. It imported the ethos of the permanent campaign into lobbying and, therefore, into the construction of public policy.

(INSERT:  I don’t think I would grasp the significance of the high-lighted text, if I had not read the article.)

And while Manafort is alleged to have laundered cash for his own benefit, his long history of laundering reputations is what truly sets him apart. He helped persuade the American political elite to look past the atrocities and heists of kleptocrats and goons. He took figures who should have never been permitted influence in Washington and softened their image just enough to guide them past the moral barriers to entry. He weakened the capital’s ethical immune system.

Helping elect Donald Trump, in so many ways, represents the culmination of Paul Manafort’s work. The president bears some likeness to the oligarchs Manafort long served: a businessman with a portfolio of shady deals, who benefited from a cozy relationship to government; a man whose urge to dominate, and to enrich himself, overwhelms any higher ideal. It wasn’t so long ago that Trump would have been decisively rejected as an alien incursion into the realm of public service. And while the cynicism about government that enabled Trump’s rise results from many causes, one of them is the slow transformation of Washington, D.C., into something more like the New Britain, Connecticut, of Paul Manafort’s youth.

 

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