Thursday, February 16, 2017

"He Will Die In Jail"

You've got to say this much for the 45th President of the United States.  He's set a record, albeit not one anyone should be proud of holding.  He's reached Watergate-levels of impeachment in just four weeks of holding the office.  Of course, the emoluments problem guaranteed that he would hit that threshold the moment he took the oath of office.  But Donald Trump, a man who likes to build things that are gilded, has now gilded the lily of the argument against his serving out his term.

I am talking, of course, about the resignation of his national security advisor, Michael Flynn, in the wake of charges (now confirmed) that he communicated with Russian officials and withheld that information from Vice President Pence.  This, of course, begs a whole host of additional questions, and demands an investigation of Flynn's conduct in this matter, regardless of where that investigation may lead.  And it may very well lead to the door of the Oval Office.  It could very well beg Howard Baker's infamous Watergate question:  what did the President know, and when did he know it?

Keep in mind that this story follows in the wake of an election campaign in which credible questions were raised about Trump's business dealings--and, quite possibly, other dealings--with Russian officials and businesses, dealings that might have the effect of compromising his ability to fully represent American interests here and abroad.  Those questions were repeatedly shoved under the carpet by Trump, his campaign, his supporters and the GOP.  Unfortunately, those questions now form a lump in that carpet around which tiptoeing is neither possible nor advisable.

Further, keep in mind that this comes against a background in which Trump is under siege from the two segments of American government that, as a Republican, should be in his back pocket for support: the military, and the intelligence community.  Let's start with the military.  Specifically, let's start with the disastrous raid in Yemen, a failure in every conceivable sense, a human tragedy for those who lost the lives, and an expedition based on intelligence so incomplete that Trump's predecessor, Barack Obama (and G-d, how I miss him), decided against proceeding with the raid. But not Trump, a man who's accustomed to sacrificing the needs of others for the sake of his ego. And military men and women, whose lives rest on the sake of good information and selfless decision-making, are not fooled by bluster:  they don't like what they see, and they're telling it like it is.

And now, for the intelligence community (full disclosure:  I have a close relative who is a member of that community, about whom I can say no more).  They, too, pay a high price for the work that they do and the information that they obtain, and are in no position to see that work misused by a "leader" who refuses to safeguard that information and its sources in a way that protects this country and its people.  I'm referring, of course, to this.  Think about it for a moment:  the man who was, just a few months ago, up in arms about Hillary Clinton's e-mail server doesn't give a damn if he throws a party and classified documents are one of the main courses.

Is it any wonder, given this incident in particular, that the intelligence community, on whom all of us depend, has turned against Trump?  Is it any wonder that they want to "go nuclear," and ensure the prediction of one official that "[H]e will die in jail"?

It shouldn't be.  But this should make you wonder.  To paraphrase former Senator Bob Dole, where's the outrage?

There's plenty of it in the streets, at public meetings, and all over social media (and elsewhere on the Internet).  But what about Congress, and the media?  I am old enough to remember the zeal and seriousness with which both of them pursued Richard Nixon out of office and into the disgrace of history.  Any chance of that happening now?


Congress, of course, is controlled by the President's party, which in turn has the backing of all sorts of political money.  That money has been spent on redistricting, on enacting voter restrictions, and on "fake news" designed to ensure that the GOP stays in charge of Congress indefinitely.  And the members of the current congressional majority feels quite sure that they will stay in charge.  All they have to do is produce more tax cuts, more deregulation, more burdening of the nation's needs on the shoulders of those who can barely bear them, so that those who bear almost nothing at all can bear even less.  Someone like Jason Chaffetz is a walking embodyment of all this.  Investigating Trump and his minions would be a direct threat to this happy little arrangement.

And the press, as we used to call them?  For that matter, the Fourth Estate, as we used to call them? When the press was regarding as a "fourth branch" of the federal government.  Forget about all of that, too.  They are a branch of nothing, except the Corporate Estate that owns Congress as well as them.  They are little more than a PR outlet for Wall Street.  Even in a direct confrontation with Trump, they are easily swept aside.

We may only have the courts, at this point.  The courts that rightly put a stop to Trump's proposed immigration ban (at least for now).  But we may not have them much longer, either.

Somehow, it's got to be up to the rest of us.  Somehow, we've got to find a way to make sure that the prophecy of the unnamed intelligence official comes true.  Trump's got to end up in jail, before America ends up only in the records of history.

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