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Trump’s Inspector General Purge and the Death of Dissent

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/19/trumps-inspector-general-purge-and-death-dissent

Trump’s purge of the state and imposition of Nazi-like uniformity on the bureaucracy is dangerous and a threat to democracy. But I am simply not going to read any more of these articles that talk about the right to dissent and its basis on information that ignores Assange, Snowden, and Manning.

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Excellent point. To paraphrase Ward Churchill: the American people have the right to dissent as long as they dissent exactly like they are told to!


I suppose trump was on time today to stop and stand on the X that marks the spot for his daily lying sessions.
When he steps up next time, I wish all of the reporters would turn on their heels and abandon trump as a showing of disrespect. And tell him so later on when he is questioning the exodus.
Someone can then tell him they either walked away because of his bad breath, or because he is an assho,./

Like they say, democracy dies in the dark.

POTUS Carter launched the inspector general program in the aftermath of Watergate and POTUS Ford adding to the corruption while failing to rectify any corruption.

Ever since the 1985 Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) formation that Party has pretended that Carter never existed, so don’t expect any help from them in saving the program.

By all signs, it is true enough that what might be left of democracy in the US is failing fast.

It is not so clear that the firing of Michael Atkinson is particularly a part of that. CIA whistleblowers John Kirakou and Pedro Israel Orta make a very different case about this over at consortiumnewsDOTcom. I’d say that it is worth having a look at. Atkinson has indeed shown himself unworthy of trust. The fact that Trump has too does not change that.

Surely presidents and certainly including Donald Trump need institutional checks and balances. But neither the CIA nor the “intelligence community” nor any other of what we used to call, not so naively, “secret agencies,” can accomplish this. A mechanism of coup d’etat cannot function also as a mechanism of democracy or of genuine revolution. These are oppositional. Such agencies have no effective transparency and no effective oversight themselves.

Democracy, if the term is to mean anything, has to retain some relationship to voting, elected officials, and transparent government. These agencies!–Kennedy reportedly had the idea, at least in a moment of rage: to “splinter the C.I.A. in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.”


The whole inspector-general concept (“here’s my report about you, sir”) is so in-your-face idiotic from the word go you have to know it could only happen in USA, or maybe Russia…

Now that I think of it, it does have an old UK, Gilbert & Sullivan vibe to it: “I polished up the handle so carefully that now I am the IG of the King’s Navy!” It’s fun if it comes with absurd pseudo-nautical costumes, tin-plated wooden swords, and pun-prone lyrics, but as an actual mode of democratic accountability? And yet we carry on with Gerald Ford stone-dumb chewing-gum tenacity, pretending our government makes sense – or once did – to someone smarter than us.

Where is the little boy in the fairy tale, to shout it out: “But the general has no inspector!”?

You know who put the last bullet in Mussolini? Thirty-two Italian inspectors general.

Many municipal governments (like my own Richmond, CA) have similar guardians and guarantors of official palm-greasing. They’re called City Managers.

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We have those things, more or less, already. What we don’t have, according to the study by Gillens and Paige, is this:

“Democracy is participation in power.”
–Marcus Tullius Cicero