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Sunday, June 2, 2024

The coming week

He started in immediately in the wake of the 34-count NY guilty verdict. He admonishes us all to Be Very Afraid. Imagine our surprise.
I guess we'll eventually see what shakes out. 156 days to the November 5th elections. Below, never mind established and proper appellate due process. Mr. Trump, you are now a convicted felon. 12 ordinary law-abiding citizen jurors found that to be the case, beyond any reasonable doubt. You have no more presumption of innocence. And, the United States will get along just fine despite any incovenient hobbling of your election campaign. You have no unfettered right to run for the presidency or any public office.

I gotta move on to other stuff. to wit,

The Amazon blurb:
A dazzling and infuriating portrait of fifty years of corporate influence in Washington, The Wolves of K Street is a masterpiece of narrative nonfiction—irresistibly dramatic, spectacularly timely, explosive in its revelations, and absolutely impossible to put down.

In the 1970s, Washington’s center of power began to shift away from elected officials in big marble buildings to a handful of savvy, handsomely paid operators who didn’t answer to any fixed constituency. The cigar-chomping son of an influential congressman, an illustrious political fixer with a weakness for modern art, a Watergate-era dirty trickster, the city’s favorite cocktail party host—these were the sort of men who now ran Washington.

Over four decades, they’d chart new ways to turn their clients’ cash into political leverage, abandoning favor-trading in smoke-filled rooms for increasingly sophisticated tactics, such as “shadow lobbying,” where underground campaigns sparked seemingly organic public outcries to pressure lawmakers into taking actions that would ultimately benefit corporate interests rather than ordinary citizens. With billions of dollars at play, these lobbying dynasties enshrined in Washington a pro-business consensus that would guide the country’s political leaders—Democrats and Republicans alike. A good lobbyist could ghostwrite a bill or even secretly kill a piece of legislation supported by the president, both houses of Congress, and a majority of Americans.

Yet nothing lasts forever. Amid a populist backlash to the soaring inequality these influence peddlers helped usher in, DC’s pro-business alliance suddenly began to fray. And while the lobbying establishment would continue to invent new ways to influence Washington, the men who’d built K Street would soon find themselves under legal scrutiny, on the verge of financial collapse, or worse. One would turn up dead behind the eighteenth green of an exclusive golf club, with a $1,500 bottle of wine at his feet and a bullet his head.
I'm now about a third of the way through this 16-hour read. Spot-on thus far. Got onto this one via an Atlantic Monthly piece by Franklin Foer, The Real 'Deep State.
The Wolves of K Street continues to be a great trip down sociopolitical memory lane for this 78 yr old. The "best" (or "worst," depending on your PoV) government that money can buy, adroitly recounted.
I finished the book. Highly recommended. Tangentially, I am reminded of my March 2023 post "The History of the Myth America Pageant."

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