The irony of it all. Americans are too skeptical when they shouldn’t be, and too trusting when they shouldn’t be. Let’s use our brains, and our own eyes and ears, and get this right.
So remember when President George W. Bush tried to convince Congress and the American people that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, and that they were responsible for 9/11? Both were lies with dire consequences, costing thousands of American lives and causing trillions of dollars of debt that continues to plague and restrict our nation’s economic freedom and spending choices. Well, gullible folks who trusted that “the president knows more than I do” allowed that debacle. My response at the time was, “In our democratic process Congress declares war, not the President, for the very reason that we need our people to have true facts we can clearly articulate as to why our people need to risk our lives in a war.” Recall that Bush’s White House even went so far as to reveal the secret identity of a covert CIA agent in order to chill any of them from bringing forward facts that would belie the lie. The lies scarred our democratic profile and made Marks of the people who trust authority figures without question. (See a well-written update since this blog was posted on Bush years)
Now we have Republicans in Congress attempting to stifle a critical investigation into how Russia attacked our democracy, possibly with help from American traitors. Their line of attack is to make us question everything, take words out of context, and to invent a new false adversary in the form of an FBI deep state with the Nunes Memo. Instead of questioning the president whose public behaviors and decisions naturally invite formal investigation, they ask us to presume conspiracies where no evidence exists to suggest private opinions influenced professional judgment. They are willing to release classified information to wage a misinformation campaign. They are injecting free-floating paranoia about our American institutions even though those institutions are currently our best hope to restore law and order and protect our democracy. (See an update, since this blog was posted, about the Democratic memo authored and released in response to the flawed and misleading Nunes memo)
If you’ve been paying attention to public behaviors and actions, you will not be fooled.
Fact #1: Russia is a known adversary to U.S. interests. Recently Russia cyber-attacked 20+ state voter registration databases, paid hackers and trolls to con Americans (including targeting U.S. military families), through misinformation campaigns on Facebook, Twitter and other social media, and backed the theft and release of DNC emails. Recall that Watergate was about theft of information from the DNC office.
Fact #2: Trump and his team are violating U.S. law right now to avoid enforcing sanctions on Russia that were voted overwhelmingly into law by all but five members of the House and Senate (and reluctantly signed into law by Trump) last July. This is a Constitutional crisis!
Fact #3: Trump met with three Russian spy chiefs in the White House a couple of days before deciding not to enforce the sanctions last week. One of those leaders is not even allowed into our country. Our press corps were not told of this important meeting. We only learned of it through Russian press. So much for freedom of the press in America.
Fact #4: Trump has been praising Putin at every turn as both candidate and President. This was really odd in the presidential debates. Recall also that the single change made to the Republican platform upon Trump’s nomination by the Republican party was a more pro-Russian stance with regard to Ukraine.
Fact #5: Trump filled his inner circle with Russian-connected people from the start, many of whom have since pled guilty or otherwise been indicted for acting as foreign agents in connection with Russia or Russian-backed Ukraine. (Flynn, Manafort, Page, Papadapolous). Yet remember how Trump insisted repeatedly that he had no connections with Russia? No meetings with Russia? And yet even is own son and son-in-law (Donald Jr and Kushner) have had meetings with the Russians which they had kept secret. Furthermore, Russian money may have been behind the dark money that funded Trump’s campaign with a $30 million gift out of the NRA. Also, Russian money-laundering may have buoyed the Trump Organization through economic hard times when U.S. banks would not lend to Trump anymore.
Fact #6: Trump has repeatedly expressed desire and taken steps to cut short the investigation into Russian wrongdoing. His actions may indeed amount to obstruction of justice. A full and proper investigation is needed.
We don’t need imagination and speculative conspiracy theories to see what is right in front of us. The investigation into Russia’s dealings with Trump, far from being illegitimate, is essential to restoring law and order and restoring America’s democratic standing in the world.