Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Is This The Summer Of 1973?


It certainly has been a busy week in Trumpistan, hasn't it? Each day there are new revelations about Donald Trump Jr. and his meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya. It was a meeting about the Magnitsky Act and the fallout from that. No, wait a second, it was a meeting about damaging information on Hillary Clinton, but he didn't know that until it started. No, wait ... he was told beforehand that there would be anti-Clinton info, and "the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Mrs. Clinton." Hang on a sec, now I've got it ...

This story gets more and more convoluted, and the facts get more and more damning, with each passing day. What started out as a story easily dismissed by Republicans as sour grapes on the part of Democrats has turned into a scandal that is potentially bigger than Watergate -- bigger because it involves a hostile foreign power mucking around in our electoral system.

What is disturbing about all this is not so much the facts of the case -- yes, they are troubling, but I have faith that we will get to the truth sooner or later -- but the sheer numbers of people who are willing to look the other way simply because their guy won.

Think about what the reaction would have been if Hillary had won and there were hints of Russian involvement. Articles of impeachment would have been drawn up before she got to the stage for her victory speech. Republicans of all stripes would be howling at the moon, demanding that she be imprisoned for treason. There would be motions in Congress to invalidate the election.

In short, it would have been a shitstorm that made Superstorm Sandy look like a leaky faucet in a Newark gas station rest room.

Every time I mention Russian meddling in a setting that includes Republicans, I get one of the following responses:
  • It didn't happen.
  • Okay, it may have happened, but he didn't know anything about it.
  • What about the Clinton Foundation? Seth Rich? Pizzagate? Uranium? BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI BENGHAZI ...
  • So you say that four intelligence agencies, the Director of National Intelligence, every reputable media outlet, and three independent cyber security firms have all said that it happened, and the DNI even released a report stating this. But where's the proof? Huh? Huh? C'mon, I'm waiting ...
  • Democrats are ridiculous. They haven't found anything yet, which means it's not there, so they should stop looking. (But what about the approximately 17,000 investigations into Benghazi that didn't find anything?) That's different ...
I am all for letting the guy off the hook if it can be shown that there isn't anything there. I said the same thing about Reagan in 1986 with the Iran-Contra hearings (it turned out he was able to run out the clock on that one, though), I said the same about Bill Clinton in 1998 when he was impeached, and I probably would have said the same about Nixon if it wasn't for the fact that I was seven years old and my main concern was getting everybody in my neighborhood to pool their Hot Wheels sets together to build the most awesome track ever down the middle of the big hill on Fairhaven Avenue1.

My problem is with the trump apologists -- some of whom are in Congress -- who are willing to look the other way when an enemy government helps their guy win.

Here's the thing. If it turns out that this happened, if we can find beyond a reasonable doubt that not only did Moscow monkey with the election but also that the trump campaign took part in these acts, then that constitutes treason. At that point an argument could be made that anyone associated with the campaign, from trump on down to the intern who saw the emails during a morning coffee run and didn't say anything about them, could be charged with treason. This means not only trump but also Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, Carter Page, Steve Bannon, Kellyanne CONway, Sean Spicey, Ivanka Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell (who I actually think masterminded the whole thing), Kevin McCarthy, Jeff Sessions ... I'm not going to post the exhaustive list here because I've got better things to do with my time such as watching the pizza go round and round inside the microwave.

Of course, even if it found to be true nothing is going to happen. For some reason that escapes me (and for that matter any other rational being, some irrational beings, and several species of exotic plants), trump is immune to the fallout from his dumbassery. He is able to say and do the most outrageous things, things that would have doomed the candidacy of anyone else before they even got to the bottom of that goddam escalator, with absolutely no consequences or repercussions. Given the fact that no Republican in Congress seems to want to hold him accountable for -- well, anything -- the only conclusion I can reach is that it doesn't matter whether or not his campaign conspired with the Kremlin to steal the election. The opportunistic hackery demonstrated by Congressional Republicans, and the complete lack of a spine exhibited by Congressional Democrats, demonstrate clearly that his statement that he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot people with impunity appears to be truer today than ever before.

This is indeed a sad indictment of our national government. In days past there would have only had to have been the slightest whiff of Russian involvement to completely torpedo a campaign, but it appears now that I should go ahead and get my subscription to Pravda ...

I gotta lie down.

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1It didn't work. In most cases the damn cars just flew off the track; one them went missing in some bushes and we didn't find it until a few months later after the leaves had fallen off for the winter. The one that didn't wipe out got about two thirds of the way down and just stopped. It turned out that it was going so fast the little plastic wheels melted. Best Sunday ever.

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