"Don't tell him you were at a bar! . . . But what else is open at night?" - Homer's Brain
"It's a pornography store. I was buying pornography." - Homer Simpson
Everybody masturbates, and porn is easier to find on the internet than reliable information. So chances are that the pixels currently displaying this sentence on your screen have previously been used for some kind of sexual material: erotica, artsy nudes, or hardcore, barely legal porno. We all do it, and we all know we do it, but we don't like to talk about it.
Thanks to Edward Snowden, we also know that the NSA has the ability to easily intercept and track the internet behavior of all but the most paranoid and technically sophisticated users. If the federal government wants to know what kind of porn you or any other citizen prefers, it's only a few keystrokes away.
For most people this is a vague and unsettling concern, but not a material threat, especially when you've had a hard day, finally got the kids to sleep, and just need a quick one before bed. After all, what would the government want with you? There is safety and anonymity in being unimportant, and the masturbatory habits of Debbie the office manager or Greg the plumber aren't exactly national security matters.
The same is not true for media executives, corporate titans, members of Congress, and everyone else in positions of real power. People like that have a lot to lose, and the incoming President is a man known for playing dirty. Trump crony Roger Stone once ginned up a fake grassroots campaign against a proposed Indian casino with Trump's personal approval. Trump used a private investigator to dig up dirt on a fellow casino mogul. And he famously bragged about sending "detectives" to Hawaii to sleuth around Barack Obama's birth certificate.
When Trump gets into a fight, one of his first instincts is to besmirch his opponent, either with real blackmail or by just making stuff up. Until now he's been limited to penny ante skulduggery like that linked above. But those are the circumscribed tactics of a private citizen with a few hundred grand sitting around. In a week he'll be the President of the United States, an office that comes with its own private army and access to the electronic communications of the entire world.
That new job also comes with a considerably expanded list of opponents. Where once Trump sparred with tabloids, divorce lawyers, and other developers, now he must tangle with national news media, foreign heads of state, federal courts, and the two-hundred-thirty year old bitchfest that is the United States Congress.
Trump is a fool and an ignoramus, but he knows that if he wants to do really yuge things as President, he'll need Congress. The border wall isn't going to build itself, nor will Obamacare roll up like a carpet on his say so. Right off the bat he's going to need the Senate to sign off on the pack of rich dolts he wants as his Cabinet. Conflict is inevitable, which brings us back to porn.
Let's say Rand Paul starts making a stink about confirming cartoonish oil tycoon Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. Well, Rand - Senator Aqua Buddha himself - isn't the world's most disciplined guy. The NSA could have his browser history on Trump's desk in a half hour, and I'll bet there is some humiliating stuff in there. Perhaps Rob Portman objects to Klan fan Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III as Attorney General and gets an email a day later detailing dates and durations of his visits to Big Black Women videos on PornHub.
Barack Obama had this power too, of course. But however little regard he has for American whistle-blowers and Yemeni civilians, he does care about checks, balances, and the separation of powers. Even more importantly, Obama has never shown even a hint of the kind of personal vindictiveness that is Trump's stock in trade.
Now for the really frightening part: porn isn't even the tip of this particular iceberg. Hell, porn isn't even the meltwater trailing behind the iceberg. With the knowledge and consent of just a handful of people in the NSA, CIA, or FBI (among other agencies), Trump could read Congress's mail, find out the personal secrets of all kinds of key Senators and Representatives, and squeeze them in ways ranging from the merely humiliating to the outright legally catastrophic.
Is someone sneaking off to a discreet D.C. hotel twice a week? Their phone will tell you exactly where they are. Someone collecting cash from an undisclosed source? Their bank logins will tell you everything you need to know. Does some Congressman have a wife who's cheating on him, or a kid with a heroin problem? Trump will know.
Anyone who stands up to President Trump can have their innermost secrets exposed or exploited in no time flat. Members of Congress have far more power to do so than anyone else. Porn, while common and easily embarrassing, is the least of our worries.