The Manafortress of Doom
Last Friday, Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort resigned, but this is unlikely to harm him personally—Paul Manafort has divided his career up into seven horcruxes, and so it cannot end until they are destroyed.
Paul Manafort’s influence on our political system will not diminish, because he has infused his evil into the very land around Washington, just as Morgoth, the black foe of the world, did to Middle Earth.
He will not be back, because Paul Manafort never left—he is wherever deals are cut and palms are greased to allow the unscrupulous to darken the doors of policymakers with their shadows.
Grass does not grow where he has tread.
Paul Manafort is not just a man; he is an archtype. He is the glint in every con-man’s eye when he spots a sucker, but given flesh.
Since Paul Manafort—who has represented to various governments a rogue’s gallery including a Lebanese arms dealer, a deposed Philippine kleptocrat, an Angolan warlord, and the ousted would-be dictator of Ukraine—came onboard with the Trump campaign, he has been the subject of intense media scrutiny. Long profiles were written; investigative reports were crafted. When it was revealed that he may have received $12.7 million from the ill-gained fortune of deposed Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych, he became a political liability. This, and his inability to collar and tame the beast that is Donald J. Trump, sealed his end with the campaign.
Roger Stone, also of Manafort’s firm “Black Manafort Stone and Kelly,” is another master of the dark arts who has decided to board the off-the-rails, more-on-fire-than-the-DC-metro train that is the Trump Express. He cut his political teeth as a member of the Nixon-era Committee to Re-elect the President, which was directly involved in the Watergate scandal, and recently made headlines for claiming in an op-ed that there would be a “bloodbath” if Trump supporters detected evidence of election fraud—a possibility Stone has encouraged Trump to raise as often as possible and even raised himself in an op-ed for The Hill (an op-ed which should be treated as a literal missive from Satan, The Adversary, Prince of Lies and Ruler of Hell).
The “Black” in “Black Manafort Stone and Kelly” is not just the name of firm partner Charlie Black, but the color of Paul Manafort’s soul. It is the color of the darkness that envelops every room he enters. It is the color of the matching tattoos that members of the firm touch to commune with their baleful overlord. It is the color of the blank space that is left after planets are destroyed by their Death Star, which they built with proceeds from advancing the interests of vicious tyrants in the United States Congress.
If you are, at this point, attempting to take comfort in the fact that men like Stone and Manafort are supporting political outsider and aging baboon Donald Trump and not more establishment politicians, do not do so. Please stop doing that right now. While Black and Stone are notable for the un-light which radiates from their eyes, many more respected figures hide in shades of grey not far removed from them on the moral spectrum. Those $12.7 million that brought down Paul Manafort? Some of them were for shuffling money to the Podesta Group, which also represented the Yanukovych regime. The Podesta Group is owned by Tony Podesta, brother of Obama White House advisor and Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta.
I could go on. Law firms of great size and fortune and with the whitest of shoes take business from a (dirty) laundry list of unsavory characters, including oppressive governments and shady oligarchs with criminal ties. Think tanks take money to represent them through their research.
If you have ever wondered why average Americans, many of whom are largely ignorant of their country’s politics, hold such scorn for the elite, this is why. It is the careerism, the coziness, the constant moral compromise in the pursuit of power and cash, and the revolving door which never seems to shut no matter how badly one screws up because there are no consequences for malfeasance.
Paul Manafort is not gone; he is just on the other side of the revolving door. In the meantime, a host of succulents and ne’er-do-wells are prepared to warm his seat.