Wednesday, February 15, 2017

This is about Trump

As bad as I expected a Trump presidency to be, it's been even worse than that. And we're not even a month into it yet!

And we're still speculating about how much Donald Trump and/or his advisors have been working with the Russians to damage America! Imagine that if it were a Democrat, rather than a Republican, in office!

Now that Trump's National Security Advisor has resigned in disgrace, Josh Marshall explains what's really the problem here:
The truth is Michael Flynn does not matter. We have before us a question that has stood before us, centerstage, for something like a year, brazen and shameless and yet too baffling and incredible to believe: Donald Trump's bizarre and unexplained relationship with Russia and its strongman Vladimir Putin.

It is almost beyond imagining that a National Security Advisor could be forced to resign amidst a counter-intelligence investigation into his communications and ties to a foreign adversary. The National Security Advisor is unique in the national security apparatus. He or she is the organizer, synthesizer and conduit to the President for information from all the various agencies and departments with a role in national security. This person must be able to know everything. The power and trust accorded this person are immeasurable. It is only really comparable to the President. And yet, we are talking about the President. A staffer or appointee can be dismissed. The President is the ultimate constitutional officer. ...

...the circumstantial evidence, the unexplained actions, the unheard of spectacle of a foreign power subverting a US election while the beneficiary of the interference aggressively and openly makes the case for the culprit, the refusal to make even the most elementary forms of disclosure which could clarify the President's financial ties - they are so multifaceted and abundant it is almost impossible to believe they are mere random and chance occurrences with no real set of connections behind them. ...

If you were Vladimir Putin you could not have done more to help the cause of Donald Trump. And if you were Trump, you could not have done more in actions and statements to repay the favor. The only question is whether the trajectory of perfectly interlocked actions were simply chance or tacit. Is it even remotely credible that with everything that led up to it, Michael Flynn initiated and conducted this back channel on his own? Hardly. It's crazy that we're having this conversation about a sitting President. But here we are. It's time. We need to know the answer to this question.

And how are Republicans responding? You know, the political party which held seven investigations into Benghazi, none of which found anything they could blame on Hillary Clinton? That same political party which chanted "lock her up" over emails - emails! - supplied to them by Vladimir Putin (dropping the whole thing like a hot potato after the election was over)?

You could probably guess, huh?
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on the Flynn affair: "I just don't think it's useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party. We'll never even get started with doing the things we need to do, like repealing Obamacare, if we're spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense."

That was the same mindset – an aversion to accountability in exchange for perceived short-term political gain – that produced an explosion of GOP corruption in the mid-aughts. There's little evidence the party learned from that sordid period, and Trump seems likely to reproduce it, except bigger, more garishly, and with more conspicuous gilding. And his congressional enablers seem ready to help out, if only by omission of real oversight.

The Trump administration itself (I still throw up a little in my mouth whenever I say that phrase) is only concerned about stopping the leaks, stopping the flow of information to our news media, so that the American public just won't hear about this stuff.

And the Republican Party doesn't give a crap about Russian influence in the highest levels of our government, as long as they think it will help them politically.

Well, this is the same political party which deliberately uses racism for political advantage. This is the same political party whose leaders agreed to do nothing to help America as long as our first black president was in office,... while we were in the middle of two wars and in the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression.

Given the past 40 years of the Republican Party putting political ambition above their own country, why would we expect any difference now? The only thing they care about is partisan politics. They won't give a crap about Russian meddling in our country unless they see the a political downside from it.

And even then, they're far more likely to try to suppress the news or muddy the waters, rather than see any ugly truths come out. Besides, we just had an election, so this is the absolute worst time for political pressure to have an impact.

We should have cared about this stuff in November. Remember, we did this to ourselves! Putin helped, but he couldn't have done this without our willing participation. That's the problem with a democracy: we get the kind of government we deserve.

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