Friday, November 22, 2019

A Moment Please-I Beg Your Indulgence

Reflections from the US

      I beg your indulgence for this brief break from the series of reports from Scotland and Ireland. A post on the historical and mystical County Meath is forthcoming. 
      The historic US Constitutional drama that played out on screens this week requires this old journalist, who covered the two previous impeachments in my life time, to offer some observations, unsolicited though they are. 
The People
      Over the past few years some of the more adamant folks in coffee deck conversations run toward the old cliche about politically biased civil service employees and a "deep state" conspiracy. I've countered by observing that in my reporting career some of the most impressive people have been civil service employees. At local, state and federal levels I've seen a commitment to public service and sense of mission. I've seen a non partisan, non political devotion to getting the job done for the benefit of the common good.
      All of this is especially so in law enforcement, national security and intelligence. These are fellow citizens doing an incredibly difficult job at wages well below the value and skill evinced and demanded. 
      The world saw that this week. The contrast between federal employees in the national security apparatus, including the military and those of the US political culture, the members of the House, was staggering especially so in specific cases. The career foreign service and security experts had a grasp of real politic, national security and international relations. A few were frankly impressive and dazzling beyond expectation.
       They were calm, quick thinking, intelligent professionals. Some members of the house displayed a commensurate understanding, others were merely political actors, shallow and in a couple of cases stupid.*  
The Process 
       I would suggest widening the scope of the articles of impeachment, either with specific charges or with a preamble.
       This Ukrainian play and the President's attempt to engage a foreign nation to participate in our election process needs to be put in the context of this administration's explicit tumble to the Russian priorities and preferences. To be considered:
     -The private meeting in the White House with the Russian spy master shortly after the election
     -The private meetings with Putin, without a US interpreter
     -The televised Helsinki repudiation and degrading of the US intelligence community and the siding with Putin over the issue of Russian intervention in the 2016 election
     -The continued attempt to break old alliances and to weaken NATO
     -The unilateral and unadvised decision to withdraw troops, betraying the Kurdish allies, and paving the way for the for Russian dominance in Syria.
     -The attempt to withhold Congressionally approved military aid to an ally under attack and at war with Russia
     -His continued insistence the Russians were not involved in the 2016 election, despite findings to the contrary by all intelligence agencies in the US, the House and the Senate and foreign investigations as well finding that Russia was involved.
     -The true findings of the Mueller investigation, not the spin he and his Attorney General have spun.

     The painful truth is Russian has been strengthened by the Trump administration. To repeat what I have observed before Trump is either a Russian agent or Russian stooge. He is probably too ignorant to know the difference.

     We Were Warned
    It is important to remember this story reported in August of 2016.
      Fifty of the nation’s most senior Republican national security officials, many of them former top aides or cabinet members for President George W. Bush, have signed a letter declaring that Donald J. Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” to be president and “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”
Mr. Trump, the officials warn, “would be the most reckless president in American history.”  New York Times 
         You should link to that story Here or to the text of the letter and the list of senior Republicans who signed it at this link.
       The people who signed the letter made the case he was unfit and unqualified and lacked the character. The world has seen the truth of their prophesy for the last  3 years.

       That 2016 Republican warning and the spiderweb of his dangerous behavior should be read to the Republican members of the Senate, until they acknowledge their once proud party has been pimped out to the Russians by, in the vernacular,  Putin's little bitch. 

Why It Matters
      There are greater goods than partisan advantage and there have been periods in our history when our political culture behaved as though they understood that. That is not so now.
      The Impeachment is not about "undoing" the 2016 election. Everyone who says that is merely mouthing a Putin trope. The sad fact is those who say that have their heads in a Fox News or Trump silo and don't comprehend the nature of their brainwashing and the extent to which it does exactly what Putin wants-to undermine our faith in our democratic republic. 
      It is true that the majority of American voters voted against Trump, by the millions, but his team, many of whom are now imprisoned and who had ties to Russian efforts, figured a way to win the electoral college. So he moved into the White House against the wishes of the majority of the nation. Still he is the President and must be held accountable. Here he is, complicit in undermining the security of the nation he is supposed to lead and contributing to the death of our allies. 
     He must be held accountable, not only because of his traitorous and criminal behavior, but because if he gets away with it, we have moved the lines on so many aspects of our constitutional government and expectation, that we will only hasten the call of our own demise. 
     No President, regardless of party, should be permitted to do what he has done, and be so reckless with our security. No President should openly or secretly ask foreign powers to engage in our electoral system. 
     Once the Republican party was staunch in their advocacy of national security, and tough in their opposition to the Russian (then USSR) threat. Now they need to look beyond their ability to make court appointments, or pass more tax breaks for the wealthy and consider what matters in the frame of history and what matters to the health of our equal branches of government.
      Those real Republicans who signed that August 2016 warning letter had it right. Those who now call themselves Republicans need to look in a mirror and decide are they people of principle or are they members of the Trumpist cult? Do they really believe the man who is Donald Trump could even sit in the same room with Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush George W. Bush, Gerry Ford and yes even Richard Nixon. Flawed as he was, Nixon did an honorable thing in the face of his impeachment. He did not want to further fracture the nation.
      Are those who call themselves Republicans in alignment with the constitutional values of this Republic or are they merely whores, working for an unfit and unqualified and disgusting Russian stooge?
    Who do you trust Donald Trump, Roger Stone, Rudy Giuliani, Paul Manafort, William Barr, Devin Nunes, Jim Jordan, or those stalwart civil servants who endured endless hours of questioning, challenges, excoriation and belittling but who displayed what it is to be a citizen and a patriot.
     Can you even imagine Donald Trump being put into a chair and examined as such?  This nation is much, much better than that. Our Presidency deserves much, much better. We should be able to expect much better out of Republicans, if any still exist.

    *Devin Nunes embarrasses even himself. I liked what California political strategist Mike Murphy said about Nunes' side kick Jim Jordan, "...he was so wild I expected him to pull out the sock puppets."
     I wonder how Congressman Jordan would receive a full scale investigation of his knowledge or role in aberrant sexual behavior on his watch as an Ohio wrestling coach. Check the history of this incident for yourself and then ask yourself, if a guy like Jordan is a point man for the House Republican defense of a man like Donald Trump what has the party come to?

    The US deserve much, much, much better.

    Ok, getting off the soapbox and getting back on the road through Ireland and Scotland.  Sorry for the intrusion.

   See you down the trail.


  1. Well said, Tom. I gave up most hope I had for this country some time ago. Unfortunately we have arrived at a point where the wrong turn could well result in a serious acceleration of our rate of decline.

  2. Why not call them what they are: Communists or Communist sympathizers.

  3. The nail has been hit on the head.
    -- When have we had a president as articulate as Fiona Hill and so many others in the government? The people who do the heavy lifting?
    -- I don't know what it would take to make the impeachment charges any more obvious.
    -- Integrity is in it's death bed. Let's hope we don't make that wrong turn.

  4. The letter you hotlinked is beyond distressing in that it reveals how ineffective even the most knowledgeable security officials, Republicans all, in a former Republican administration, were in deraiing the Trump "train." I have connections with, they may be interested in a perspective on this, will keep you informed. Thanks much.

  5. The unfortunate thing is, with all the evidence to the contrary of their belief's, trump's supporters and literally most of the GOP, either dismiss the testimony as lies, or simply do not care. Evangelicals, who have sold their souls, don't care about his lies and moral transgressions, as long as he keeps appointing judges that oppose abortion rights. Two years ago I had a trump supporter in my Montana town tell me that he didn't care if what trump did hurt him or his family, as long as 'you libtards' hate it. There is no arguing or even reasoning with this willfulness to believe facts.

  6. Yes to all of this. I posted a much simpler version of a similar rant on my blog this week.