Saturday, June 30, 2018

....Or Maybe Both

                                                

I have watched my country teeter on the abyss for several years. Of course, Trump couldn't do it alone. It took the Republicans to pave the way of destroying our democracy for him to bring it to this point. It began when they impeached Clinton for partisan reasons. It went on when they stated their goal of obstructing Obama on everything he tried to do including government shutdowns, threats to default on our debt, threats to push us over a fiscal cliff, sequesters. We were almost ready for Trump by the time Mitch McConnell refused to give Obama's Supreme Court nominee a hearing and instead held up the confirmation process for a year. It continued when they spent years and millions of dollars to try to undermine Hillary (which they successfully did although they found zip in the end) and now they are in a hurry to complete the Mueller investigation - go figure). .

So then we get Trump with a little help from his friends and even not-so-much his friends - James Comey and Vladimir Putin. In the time since, the Republicans have changed their minds on everything they always said they believed in. The national debt is soaring. Forget free trade - now they love tariffs. Any attempt to cooperate on a comprehensive immigration bill is dead on arrival.In fact, any attempt to cooperate with the other side on anything is extinct.

And it has been the same with evangelical Christians. Jesus? Who's that? Remember how they once said "character counts"?  Forget that nonsense, that was only when it was the other guy. Now they love them some amoral, vile, filthy-mouthed cheater. Both the lilly-livered Republicans and the hypocritical Christians have been conned and they probably know it. I believe they have willingly traded integrity for power.

That power will have been immensely consolidated if Trump gets to choose a Supreme Court justice and I don't see how the Dems can stop him. Ironically, this justice will probably end up voting on issues that arise from the Russian investigation and do you think Trump isn't intensely aware of that? (Pardons anyone?) How about that not confirming a justice during election years. Oh, no, now we discover that only applies to presidential election years. The people's voices don't count in mid-term elections.

There are lots of things that disturb me deeply about Trump. How he is withdrawing us from our previous leadership positin in the world, for instance (which is to Russia and China's benefit). How he takes us out of negotiated agreements with no replacement plan whatsoever - the Paris Accords, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Human Rights Commission, the Iran Agreement. Possibly NAFTA will be next. He just leaves them hanging out there with no solution in sight.  His penchant for a trade war which he says can be easily won though history tells us that not only aren't they easy to win, they can't be won at all. Meanwhile, Harley Davidson moves part of its work over seas, GM lays off, Our soybean farms are losing money. A nail factory in Missouri shuts down an assembly line for lack of parts...and on and on. And the Trump Cult eats it up. This is their idea of Making America Great Again. I despise the cruelty of our Zero Tolerance immigration policy and well, just the viciousness and deceit of this administration generally. I stress about the environmental rollbacks that will send us back to acid rain and polluted air and dirty water and despoiling national parks and shrinking national monuments. I hate his corruption, nepotism and the way he uses the White House as a gravy train that pours money directly into the Trump coffers. For example, he shouldn't even have anything to do with Trump International Hotel as there is a regulation that government property isn't to be leased to government officials. Trump brushes off these nit-picky little rules as if they don't apply to him and he must be right.

But one thing worries me more than all the others. New Congresspeople and presidents can be voted in. Executive orders can be overturned. Laws can change. Even Supreme Court rulings can be overruled in time (that is probably about to happen with Roe V Wade and gay marriage).

No, it is virtually turning us over to the Russians that I'm most afraid of. Republicans used to hate Russia too but that is another thing they've changed their minds about. They dismiss the Mueller investigation - and in fact, do everything they can to trash Mueller, Rosenstein and Wray - none of them angry Democrats. Republicans all and appointed by Trump himself. They demand unconstitutional access into evidence from an on-going investigation. They threaten to impeach Rosenstein if he doesn't comply with their ridiculous orders.

From the beginning, it was pretty clear that Trump was in bed with Russia. So many in his campaign met with Russian officials and lied about it. They changed the Republican platform to please Putin. Michael Flynn was tweeting a Russian oligarch during Trump's Inaugural Address. Many high-up Russians got tickets to the inauguration as well as the private dinners held afterwards. Trump's son, son-in-law and campaign manager met with Russians in Trump tower to get dirt on Hillary, then lied about what they discussed (with Trump himself writing the false narrative). The Russians visit the Oval Office after Trump is elected and he tells them that he fired Comey and now the Russian problem is off his mind. Incidentally, he also divulges classified information we'd received from Israel. And Russian press only at this meeting only, no Americans. Jared Kushner talks to Russian about setting up a back channel with Russia in their embassy so our intelligence can't listen in.

Mueller has so far gotten 20 indictments, 5 guilty pleas, a former Trump campaign manager in jail but the Republicans pooh-pooh it all. They impugn the honesty and honor of the very foundations of our democracy- the Department of Justice, the legal system, the F.B.I., the C.I.A. and other intelligence agencies.

Trump has to be be pushed to enforce the sanctions Congress imposed almost unanimously on Russia (back when Republicans still had a shred of loyalty to their country).

He meets with Putin privately - no Americans. We always have to find out about interactions between the U.S. and Russia through their media. We get the transcripts of their calls from Russia - even Fox isn't told!

Trump turns on our allies and wants to let Russia back into the G7. He is probably going to pull us out of NATO. He actually offers better trade deals to countries (i.e. France) if they leave the European union. These are all things Putin wants badly.

So why is Trump engaging in this treasonous behavior? I can only think of two reasons: 1) Russia is blackmailing him. This could very well be. Back when American banks refused to lend him any money because he was such a deadbeat businessman, Russian banks came to his rescue so they probably know a lot about his various financial deals and entanglements. Or 2) he has been promised a gigantic pay-off when he's done being president.

Pick your poison.