The Most Corrupt Man In America

Nope. It’s not him. It’s not Tr-mp. It’s this guy:

Image result for paul ryan

Paul Ryan is the most corrupt man in the country. And it’s not even close. Oh, don’t get me wrong. Tr-mp is corrupt, no doubt. Tr-mp is a con man. He is a bullshitter. He is a liar. He is a money-grubbing narcissist. And he is embarrassing the United States and threatening our national security and undermining our democratic institutions. All that is absolutely true. But Tr-mp embarrasses the nation, he threatens our security, he undermines our democracy because Paul Ryan makes it possible. Paul Ryan is normalizing Tr-mpism. And he is doing it all in service to his Ayn Randian vision for the country: the Gospel of Greed.

Controversial: Tuesday's New York Post coverPerhaps you remember a story from 2012 in which a freelance photographer for the New York Post snapped a photo of a subway rider who had been pushed onto the tracks by another man. The photographer, knowing the train was moments away from killing the unfortunate rider, did what he was paid to do. He took a picture. His instincts were not to help the man or even urge others to help him. His instincts, which revealed his character, were to aim and shoot. The man on the tracks was killed by the train. Police said the man was on the tracks for more than a minute before the train passed by. There was plenty of time for someone, anyone, to help him up. But no one did.

In our times, in our dangerous times as a democracy, Paul Ryan is the political equivalent of that photographer and the others there who refused to help save that “doomed” man that day.

Greg Gianforte, a rich Republican Tr-mpthug pretending to be a Good Christian Man, won his election last night in Montana. The money it took to win that House seat was staggering and, as Roll Call pointed out, almost 90% of the outside money spent was spent on behalf of the Tr-mpthug. Roll Call says:

The Congressional Leadership Fund, the super PAC backed by House GOP leadership, has been the biggest spender in this race, dropping about $2.7 million.

Think about that. House GOP leadership dropped almost 3 million bucks on behalf of the thug. And House GOP leadership is led by Paul Ryan. He couldn’t afford to lose even one seat as he searches for a way to bring to reality is Randian vision.

When Ryan was asked yesterday what he thought about Gianforte physically assaulting a journalist for asking a policy question, the Speaker of the House, who always plays the Boy Scout, said it “was wrong and should not have happened.” He then said,

Should the gentleman apologize? Yes. He should apologize.

Whoopee. The “gentleman” should say he’s sorry. Not go to jail. Not step aside. Just say, “Oops!” and all will be forgotten. And Ryan indicated he would have no problem seating the Tr-mpthug if he won the election.

Well, he did win, of course. There was really no doubt about whether he would. The Cult of Tr-mpism is very much alive in some parts of the country. And assaulting a “liberal” journalist only helped Gianforte among the faithful, including the faithful conservative media, which is why he waited to apologize until after he won. Charlie Sykes, once a right-wing radio guy who is anti-Tr-mp now (and an analyst on MSNBC), confessed in The New York Times last December:

The conservative media is broken and the conservative movement deeply compromised.

Sykes talked about how he thought he “had a relatively solid grasp on what conservatism stood for and where it was going.” He mentioned how he “helped advance the careers of conservatives like House Speaker Paul D. Ryan” and Reince Priebus. He said he thought “conservatives actually believed things about free trade, balanced budgets, character and respect for constitutional rights.” Then came Tr-mp. And as Sykes pointed out, “even Mr. Ryan” figured out that “neutrality was not acceptable; if you were not for Mr. Tr-mp, then you were for Mrs. Clinton.”

Read carefully the following passage written by Sykes—again, a conservative Republican and former radio guy who has not been corrupted by Tr-mpism:

How had we gotten here?

One staple of every radio talk show was, of course, the bias of the mainstream media. This was, indeed, a target-rich environment. But as we learned this year, we had succeeded in persuading our audiences to ignore and discount any information from the mainstream media. Over time, we’d succeeded in delegitimizing the media altogether — all the normal guideposts were down, the referees discredited.

That left a void that we conservatives failed to fill. For years, we ignored the birthers, the racists, the truthers and other conspiracy theorists who indulged fantasies of Mr. Obama’s secret Muslim plot to subvert Christendom, or who peddled baseless tales of Mrs. Clinton’s murder victims. Rather than confront the purveyors of such disinformation, we changed the channel because, after all, they were our allies, whose quirks could be allowed or at least ignored.

We destroyed our own immunity to fake news, while empowering the worst and most reckless voices on the right.

This was not mere naïveté. It was also a moral failure, one that now lies at the heart of the conservative movement even in its moment of apparent electoral triumph. Now that the election is over, don’t expect any profiles in courage from the Republican Party pushing back against those trends; the gravitational pull of our binary politics is too strong.

I’m only glad I’m not going to be a part of it anymore.

“A moral failure,” says Sykes. He’s not just talking about Tr-mp and his cultish followers, many of whom have publicly praised what the gazillionaire Gianforte did to that reporter in Montana. Sykes is also talking about conservative “leaders” like Paul Ryan, who, if he wanted to, could today take a stand against Tr-mpism. He could, if he cared to help save us from the damage Tr-mp is doing to our democracy, begin to end the madness that is Tr-mp’s illegitimate presidency. He could lead the move to impeach Agent Orange and pass the job of convicting him over to the Senate, where the second most corrupt man in America, Mitch McConnell, would have to take it up.

But he won’t. What he will do is continue pursuing his policy agenda, a corrupt agenda that will literally kill Americans with its budget- and tax-cutting cruelty. Paul Ryan’s campaign spokesman demonstrated as much early this morning by offering the victorious Tr-mpthug from Montana Ryan’s congratulations:

Elections are about choices and Montanans made their choice—selecting Greg Gianforte to represent them in Congress. Rep.-elect Gianforte is an outsider with real-world experience creating jobs in Montana. He will bring that experience to Congress, where he will be a valuable voice in the House Republican Conference.

That’s the way Ryan sees assholes like Greg Gianforte and Donald Tr-mp. They are “valuable” resources for the reactionary transformation of America into a selfish, Randian Republic, one in which the sick, the poor, the disabled, and the working class will suffer, so that the Gianfortes and Tr-mps can get tax cuts, so that the unprincipled can continue to prosper, so that the rich can continue to rule.

And that is why Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House, is the most corrupt man in America.

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  1. Yessir! Well said. A smarmy enabler of anything that will oil him toward his callous Randian dream. It is telling how Ayn Rand has been embraced by devout Catholics (Ryan) and Calvinists (Brat) to the actual exclusion of the Christian leanings (so they claim) that help get them elected. Wake up call for those Fundamentalists who claim to love Jesus, Ryan and Brat: Rand is Mammon — Jesus said you couldn’t serve both.
    These guys are con men just like Tr-mp. These guys are con men just like Carson and Huckabee. These guys are con men just like Benedict IX, Alexander VI and others I can’t remember. Wolves in sheep’s clothing.
    What the heck — I’m just agreeing with you.
    Ryan IS the worst.


  2. A perspicacious post, Duane. I agree about Ryan and McConnell.

    I think Sykes’ analysis of the media problem is spot-on. The previous American lapse into nationalist isolationism by America-firsters was ended only by WW II. It took the attack on Pearl Harbor to re-unite the country because it affected everybody personally. What, I wonder, would it take now in an era of bi-polar politics, a global economy, the internet, alternative news, and the absence of conscription? Perhaps the use of a nuclear weapon?


  3. King Beauregard

     /  May 28, 2017

    I don’t want to say too much in favor of Trump, because goddamn he is everything wrong with this country. But I do have to give him some credit for one small thing: he is not bound by ideology the way virtually every other Republican is. So for example, Trump finally came around to the notion of not talking about Muslim terrorism and the like for the same reasons that Obama articulated; Trump actually learned and changed his behavior accordingly. I would not expect that of Ryan, McConnell, Pence, or any of the rest.


    • Trump finally came around to the notion of not talking about Muslim terrorism and the like for the same reasons that Obama articulated . . .

      King, you give him too much credit. I submit that Tr;mp’s flexibility derives not for the same reasons as Obama’s, but because he is reactive rather than proactive. This man has no ideology, no consistent policy, no moral core and no sense of history, nor any hint of patriotic vision. He is an empty shell obsessed only with power and money.


      • King Beauregard

         /  May 30, 2017

        “This man has … no moral core and no sense of history, nor any hint of patriotic vision. He is an empty shell obsessed only with power and money.”

        The same could be said of the Republicans in general. But like you say, Trump also has no ideology and no consistent policy. Seeing as the Republicans’ ideology and policies are wrong 99.999% of the time, it means that Trump stands a chance of accidentally finding his way to good policies through sheer dumb luck, or if someone can talk him into it.

        In this case, I don’t think that Trump has adopted a vision of Islam that allows for nuances. I imagine that someone got it through his thick head that it’s a better sales tactic to frame the terrorists as enemies of Islam. Or, more likely, someone tricked him into thinking he came up with the idea.

        Liked by 1 person

        • It’s funny. When Tr-mp was giving that godawful speech in Saudi Arabia, surrounded by thugs who knew how to manipulate him with lavish treatment, he talked about Islam like he knew the difference between a Shia and a Sunni, like he had an understanding of the complicated issues involved. I just wanted so badly for some journalist to ask him after it was over whether the Saudis were Sunni or Shia. I guarantee you he wouldn’t have known. His understanding of, or interest or curiosity in, any subject other than himself is thinner than skin on a sausage.


          • King Beauregard

             /  June 2, 2017

            Heh. To be very very clear, I am not giving Trump credit for intelligence or independent-mindedness, only that he is not a slave to Republican dogma, which is wrong 99.99% of the time. I could say pretty much the same about a squirrel.


            • You are right he is not a slave to the dogma of Republicans. Mainly because he doesn’t know what it is or understands it. But he is, by virtue of the trouble he’s in, slave to Republicans. And by now even he knows that.


  4. ansonburlingame

     /  May 29, 2017


    I note that only a few, three actually, have commented on your last three blogs, all three just more rants of everything wrong with Trump. No reason for me as the lone conservative to comment as your only solutions offered are to impeach and remove from office Trump, “unpresident” Pence, and imply the same path must be taken with the third man in line for the Presidency, the “most corrupt man in America”. In other words clean house and restore government to single party power, your party. My column in Sunday’s Globe was my response to you and yours.

    In the meantime I have now been introduced to three ideas that offer insight into American politics today. The first is McMaster’s book, Dereliction of Duty. What happened related to Vietnam after JFK’s death is still going on today, particularly during the Bush/Obama Years. Read the book to get my gist.

    Second is the new Netflick movie, War Machine, a glimpse at the McCrystal months in Afganistan.

    Finally is a new initiative called Poverty Inc., new to me at least. If one watches the video (PBS) and considers how our local Water Gardens program tries to help the poor (teach a man to fish, not just giving away free fish) you see a counter argument to the way the world tries to deal with, say, poverty in Africa, today.

    The information provided on all three “things”, how we screwed up in Vietnam, big time, why McCrystal (and everyone else commanding our military (starting with two different Commanders in Chief) in that sad affair called Afghanistan) failed and why current efforts related to world poverty are failing are all ideas that need exploring, today, again.

    In the meantime, all you contribute to those issues is wait 2-4 years, clean house and start again to screw it all up, again!!

    My point is America will not make headway against complex issues as long was we try to govern with Hatfield’s and McCoy’s in charge, one or the other.



    • Anson,

      While I appreciate the fact that you are willing to explore what are new ideas for you, I don’t see what any of them have to do with our present dilemma. McMaster’s book on Vietnam is an elaborate detailing of what we already knew (I have written at least twice about Johnson’s colossal mistake of escalating that war for bullshit reasons). War Machine is a look at what anyone can see is a difficult problem in Afghanistan, considering the complications involved (how many times have we discussed that on this blog?). And the “Water Gardens” idea is not a new one, (I have written about it—quite critically—at least once or twice now and maybe more).

      You continue, though, to ignore the dangerous situation Tr-mp’s “presidency” is putting us in, in terms of U.S. strength, both moral and political, in the world and what losing that strength can and probably will mean. As I recall, you were quite critical of Obama’s “leading from behind” strategy (whatever that was supposed to mean) and other aspects of his international leadership or, in your case, his lack of it. Now, all of a sudden, world affairs and how the U.S.’s role in them is quickly diminishing—we are in fact becoming a laughingstock—is secondary to some new or newly expressed or newly valued notion of yours that we need to make peace between the Hatfields and McCoys.

      Well. I will not make peace with people who think Tr-mp is the cure for whatever is making us sick. Why? Because Tr-mpism itself, which predates Tr-mp, is the disease. I have laid it out before: changing FCC rules on equal time led to Rush Limbaugh and right-wing talk radio, which began the whole “fake news” bullshit. That led to Fox “News,” which televised the same bullshit. Drudge and Breitbart on the Internet was another form of the same destructive bullshit. And now, voilà, we have the bullshitter-in-chief. No surprise. He didn’t spring from a vacuum. He sprang from a shallow pool of know-nothings, people in the conservative media complex who figured out how to monetize the deprecation of real journalism in favor of a web of misinformation and lies.

      So, no. I will not make peace with such people. We are surely in a slow-moving, non-shooting civil war in this country. Just as Lincoln figured out there was no peace-making with people who not only valued slavery as an institution, but valued it over their own goddamned country, so I have figured that out. Until Tr-mp and Pence are gone, and until Tr-mpism is pushed back (it will never die, as the Civil War and its aftermath has taught us), you will get no peace from me, in terms of a willingness to compromise with people who think Tr-mp and his behavior is good for the country—and, unfortunately, that includes most Republicans. And, quite unfortunately, that includes people like H.R. McMaster, who once enjoyed well-deserved sterling reputations, but now find themselves corrupted by Tr-mp.


      Liked by 1 person

    • Anson,

      Knowing of our shared interest in McMaster’s book on the Vietnam war and its politics, I highly recommend this article on a shockingly parallel account that is happening right now. It is about SecDef Jim Mattis as he tries to manage almost impossible job in the Trump administration. Enjoy.


  1. No Peace, As Long As Tr-mp Remains | The Erstwhile Conservative: A Blog of Repentance
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