Tag Archives: Russia

It’s Fourth of July–with Trump in the White House

Fourth of July treats

Fireworks. A day at the beach or another family get together. Beer, hotdogs or burgers. Time to relax and celebrate America’s freedom. But there’s a pall over the festivities this year. At least for the majority of Americans who disapprove and worry about the man who would be king Tiberius Trump, rather than president.

Is our independence secure? One can’t be certain, perhaps even doubtful with the so-called president currently occupying the oval office. There have been  good presidents and bad presidents. But never one so oddly out-of-place and so dangerously unqualified. You know his faults, let’s not list them again. Let’s just consider a couple of events, one historical, one fictional which could threaten the survival of America as we know it. Then we’ll consider the current reality we’re facing–the scariest thing of all.

Were Trump alive during the American Revolution, would he have sided with King George against the Continental Congress? “A fine fellow,” Trump might say. One that instead of considering an enemy, he would prefer to establish a better relationship with. Much like Vladimir Putin.

What would Trump do if he were facing the aliens that threatened not just America but world annihilation in the movie Independence Day? Would he tweet, “FAKE news!” Or perhaps he’d claim it a plot by the Democrats, especially Hillary Clinton, to threaten his presidency. Most likely, he’d cower in the sub-basement of the White House or retreat to the bunker at Mount Weather. There he might call BFF Putin and implore him for advice. After all, Trump doesn’t trust any of his senior advisers—especially the intelligence agency heads nor the military.

What might Putin say to him? If I were as rude as Stephen Colbert, I might suggest that Putin would tell him, (assuming there were a video teleconference transmission):

“Get off your knees, Donald! This isn’t a stall in a Kremlin men’s room!”

But that would be crude, wouldn’t it. But I don’t have to worry about FCC complaints or sponsors objecting. I’m just a blogger who, while not seriously suggesting Trump’s sexual misadventures might include glory holes, doesn’t reject them out of hand as a possibility either.

So what then of America’s independence?  it’s well established that Russian agents, at the direction of Putin, meddled in America’s 2016 election. “Meddle,” of course, is a singularly understated word for what went on. They hacked into DNC servers and published stolen messages via WikiLeaks. They used bots and trolls to publish fake news disparaging the Clinton campaign. They hacked into voter registration records of at least 21 states (and possibly 39). So what is Trump’s response?  Denials that it even happened. It’s all a hoax—especially that anyone associated with his campaign had anything to do with making this happen. Other than that, nothingexcept for his voter fraud commission. NOTE: as of July 4th, 44 of 50 states have resisted the commission’s request for much of the information requested.

The commission was created in part to prove his ridiculous claim of millions of illegal votes that cost him the popular vote. It also would offer better tools for suppressing  undesirable votes from minorities and Democrats. Moreover, his administration offers no assistance or warnings to the election officials across America on how to harden their record keeping systems against intrusion in the upcoming 2018 election.  We’ll return to that in just a bit.

On Friday, July 7th, Trump will meet with Vladimir Putin at the G20 summit. What will they talk about? Syria? Iran? Or maybe lifting or at least lightening the sanctions imposed by former President Obama on Russia? Will there be an opportunity for them to meet alone (Trump is unlikely to speak Russian, but Putin does have some fluency in English!) Trump has dissed a substantial percentage of American allies. He has dissed American war heroes. He calls American media his enemy. But he has never ONCE said anything bad about Putin. He has also lavished praise on strong men throughout the world.

Trump, as we all know, wishes he were unencumbered by limitations on his power by the other two branches of government—Congress and the judiciary. He could also do without media scrutiny. He has had some success at curtailing the media; not so much the other branches of government. But what if he could get an even more compliant Congress? That’s where Putin, the voter fraud commission and the disinterest in protecting against Russian hacking of voter records—perhaps even voting machines themselves.

Could Trump be the reincarnation of Benedict Arnold? Angered at what he perceived to be a lack of recognition and rewards (lack of promotions, etc.) Arnold conspired with the British during the Revolutionary War and gave his name as a simple synonym for traitor. Trump is particularly incensed at the opposition of the media and the lack of recognition of what he sees as his own virtues and successes (few and far between, and as minimal, as they are). So, will Trump succumb to flattery by Putin to make Russia Great Again? Perhaps he already has. Perhaps he has been corrupted financially or otherwise to do Putin’s bidding. One could easily assume so, given Trump’s behavior toward Putin and Russia. So, decades from now, we could be talking of Traitor Trump and Benedict Arnold might be a forgotten figure of history.

Let’s hope not. Now is the time for America to celebrate its independence—and resist surrendering it to Donald Trump and inferentially, Russia. Here’s what Eugene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning reporter had to say yesterday in Our #FakeHero president is an insult to our Founders .

The role of the citizenry — to express approval or disapproval at the ballot box — includes making sure that suffrage is not selectively and unfairly denied by restrictive voter-ID laws or partisan purges of the voter rolls.

Congress must assert its powers of oversight. . . Trump has deepened the swamp, not drained it; and Congress has a duty to sort through the muck.

Congress must also let Trump know, in no uncertain terms, . . . that firing Mueller would automatically be considered grounds for impeachment.

The Fourth of July is no day for despair. It’s a day to remember that our system, though vulnerable to a charlatan such as Trump, is robust and resilient. Eventually he will be tossed or voted out. And the star-spangled banner yet will wave.

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Acknowledgements: See link attribution to item by Eugen more...

So It Begins, with Michael Flynn–Trump’s Ignominious Early Departure

Does any rational person really think that former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn came up with his own talking points to Russian Ambassador Kisylak? Does anyone NOT think he discussed or got approval from Donald J. “Richard Milhous” Trump? Congress will demand that Flynn testify before their various committees. Will Flynn be a loyal soldier like G. Gordon Liddy–who refused to rat out Richard Nixon? Maybe, but maybe not. 

Trump and Nixon side by side
Donald Trump, Richard Nixon(Credit: AP/Reuters/Rick Wilking/Photo montage by Salon)

“What did the president know and when did he know it?” Déjà vu washes over American’s over 50. Odd, hearing newscasters who were not yet born or who were young children utter this phrase. A phrase that was said countless times on a daily basis 43 years ago. The Watergate investigation became America’s obsession in 1973, culminating in then President Richard Nixon’s resignation on August 9, 1974. [I watched it in the student lounge of Georgetown University Law Center as I began my law school classes. Then major news anchor John Chancellor said no one in America was celebrating this event—he couldn’t have been more mistaken. I have never since had such a high level of schadenfreude—but I expect Trump’s eventual departure to exceed it.] More than 30 White House cabinet members, Nixon staff members and associates went to jail. It all began with a break-in at the Watergate complex headquarters of the Democratic National Committee  in 1972. Those who went to jail included John Mitchell, Attorney General and chairman of Nixon’s reelection campaign. Others included senior White House officials like H.R. “Bob” Haldeman and John Erlichman.

Many have seen the similar personality flaws of Nixon and Trump, as well as contemplated the trajectory of a Trump presidency that very likely could follow Nixon’s second term. Enemies—the news media, Democrats, blacks and religious minorities; for Nixon it was Jews, for Trump it’s Muslims. Hubris is a common element. But Nixon had more paranoia with his megalomania; Trump has more narcissism with his self-aggrandizement. Nixon resigned in the face of certain impeachment and conviction. Will Trump face the same fate? Maybe. Or perhaps he’ll be out on a mental disability. It wasn’t the break-in that put so many Nixon associates in jail, it was the cover-up of it. Will it be the same with Trump? Could be the financial conflicts, Russia or any number of things. Flynn is just the first. More will likely follow, the longer Trump remains in office.

You didn’t have to be a Malcolm Nance, former Navy intelligence officer,  to see the Michael Flynn situation coming. All you had to do was observe Trump’s behavior toward Russian generally and Putin in particular. Here’s some of what I said in my fake news (mostly to insulate myself from legal liability by claiming my commentary was true).

My January 19 post included this satirical item:

“On behalf of Benedict Trump, National Security Adviser Michael “RT” Flynn, called the Russian Ambassador five times on December 29th.  He reportedly saidaccording to a leak of an NSA intercept authorized by a FISA warrant,

“Don’t worry about Obama’s sanctions and those diplomats expelled. Once Trump’s in the White House we’ll roll them back and you can bring back as many spies—I mean diplomats—as you want.”

“Thank you, Comrade Flynn,” the ambassador replied.”

Of course no FISA warrant was needed; it was a routine matter for US counterintelligence to monitor calls to and from people like Russian Ambassador Kisylak. How carelessly stupid did a career US intelligence official like Michael Flynn have to be to in fact tell the ambassador that Trump might remove or lessen sanctions? VERY stupid. For that reason alone he should have resigned. No one that stupid should be in the position of National Security Adviser to the President.

My December 31 post included this satirical item:

“More breaking news on the Russian Front (Putin and Trump, that is).  An anonymous source linked this NSA intercept of a recent call between Trump and Putin.

 “Hey, Vlad baby, thanks for that smart move with the sanctions. That will make it easier for me to remove them after I’m in the White House–soon to be the Trump House, hahaha.”

“Donny, don’t worry about the sanctions Obama imposed. We can handle them for a while. Wait a few months before you remove them all–and the other ones about Crimea and the Ukraine. If you act too quickly, you’ll have trouble with Congress.”

“Are you sure you can stand them, Vlad?”

“Absolutely, Donny boy. Just remember, we’re always here for you. If you do get in trouble–like being impeached for conflicts of interest with all your business dealings, you can move to Russia. We treat our oligarchs very, very well here. You can make as much money as you want without annoying laws and regulations hemming you in. You could finally become a billionaire for real!”

“How about a reality TV show on RT?

“Sure, no problem. But you’ll want more than that won’t you? Resorts, casinos, golf courses and more–right? Just get rid of those sanctions in a few months.”

“Right. OK, but if I’m going to dump those sanctions, I’ll need approval for several projects up front. Donald Jr., will be in touch about them.”

“Sure, we can do that. But be careful about calls like this. We can’t help you if you go too far and get charged with treason!”

“Hey, I’ll be President. No conflicts. I can do whatever I want. Say, you really didn’t do that hacking did you?”

“No, of course not! You trust Infofarce, the National Enquirer, WhiteBark and Sean Insanity don’t you?”

“Oh sure. That’s why I don’t bother with those stupid PDBs. I’m smarter than those intelligence agencies!”

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2017 John Maberry
Acknowledgements: See photo attribution