Wednesday, August 21, 2019

A Bum Rap For The Founding Fathers & Other Tales From Trump's Road To Ruin

The Founding Fathers are catching heat these days and at first glance it seems well deserved.  How could these bewigged gentlemen, the Jeffersons and Washingtons who got so much right in kick-starting the American republic, have invested so much power in the chief executive and made it so difficult to remove a rogue president like Donald Trump?  
Alas, this assessment is unjustified because the Founders, from their kinder, gentler and rosier (some would say hopelessly optimistic) perspective 230 years ago, could not have imagined a beast like Trump nor a Congress and cult-like political party that has not just abjured its constitutional responsibilities but abetted the rogue's many monstrosities. 
Examples of Trump's toxicity, as well as how he cheapens everything he touches, abound in an era when bipartisan discourse -- even in the face of a national crisis like the epidemic of mass shootings by white nationalist gunmen who answered Trump's nativist siren call -- has been strangled, but one will suffice. 
In the wake of the El Paso massacre, Trump has predictably and furiously beat a retreat from his brief public flirtation with tightening background checks and backpedaled into the arms of the National Rifle Association while mouthing garbled bumper-sticker clichés like "It's people who pull the trigger, not the gun that pulls the trigger." 
Meanwhile, Republican members of Congress who are being asked whether they believe white nationalism, with Trump as an unapologetic cheerleader, has anything to do with the violence, have been provided helpful talking points by the House Republican Conference that instruct its members to say the carnage is politically "from the left." 
"White nationalism and racism are pure evil and cannot be tolerated in any form," the talking points state.  "We also can't excuse violence from the left such as the El Paso shooter, the recent Colorado shooters, the Congressional baseball shooter, Congresswoman [Gabby] Giffords' shooter and Antifa." 
End of discussion.  Next question?
Let's call the NRA for what it is -- the largest tax-exempt terrorist organization in America. 
But beyond its resistance to even the most modest gun controls, the NRA played an especially insidious role in Trump's 2016 election "victory" by folding millions of dollars in contributions from Russian nationals into the record $30 million it gave to Trump's campaign in violation of federal election laws.    
Those laws tripped up and ultimately brought down Michael Cohen, Trump's longtime personal lawyer and fixer, who acted as bagman for hush money payments the future president made with women with whom he had affairs.  Cohen is now serving a three-year prison sentences for his role in the illegal payments and lying to Congress about the Trump Tower Moscow project.    
The Federal Election Commission was tasked with looking into the Russian-NRA-Trump connection, and in March 2018 opened a preliminary investigation that became tangentially connected to Mariia Butina, who pleaded guilty in December to being a covertforeign agent  for Russia and is in prison, and her handler, Alexander Torshin, a Russian central bank official with innumerable NRA ties.  
The NRA has, of course, has been roiled by its own self-inflicted wounds and because of its profligacy is flirting with financial ruin, while FEC Chair Ellen Weintraub, a holdover Democrat, said this week that commission Republicans, who are in the majority, are blocking the investigation into what she calls "one of the most blockbuster campaign finance allegations in recent memory." 
Translation: The investigation is effectively as dead as the 22 El Paso massacre victims.   
So many people, reprobates and a few crooks, as well, have passed through the ever-spinning West Wing revolving door in Trump's White House. 
Anthony Scaramucci was a onetime Trump political adviser, Russia scandal cover-up helpmate and White House communications director for a mere 10 days because his outbursts (such as Reince Priebus is "a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac" and "I'm not Steve Bannon, I'm not trying to suck my own cock") were too much even for the Outburster in Chief. 
But now the Mooch is back, strutting in his new stuff in Renaissance Man finery and telling anyone who will listen that he can no longer "in good conscience" can support the president's reelection and is putting together a coalition to stop Trump. 
That according to a Washington Post op-ed, one of the stops on Scaramucci's contrition tour.   
Scaramucci writes that:
I broke from Trump because not only has his behavior become more erratic and his rhetoric more inflammatory, but also because, like all demagogues, he is incapable of handling constructive criticism.  As we lie on the bed of nails Trump has made, it's often difficult to see how much the paradigm of acceptable conduct has shifted.  For the Republican Party, it's now a question of whether we want to start cleaning up the mess or continue papering over the cracks.
All good, you say. 
Well, Scaramucci didn't suddenly grow a pair.  He's positioning himself for a run at national office.  Or some office.  Or making a lot of money.  But welcome to the club, anyway.
It is unfortunate that no one has been counting Trump's "new lows" with the precision of The WaPo fact checkers who have determined that the president has lied or misstated a fact over 12,000 times since taking office. 
A new low is something so outrageous that it makes all the outrages that came before it pale by comparison.  Like the Trump administration discharging immigrant recruits from the military who hoped to earn their citizenship by fighting for their adopted country, then separating the children of migrant parents seeking political asylum and then denying those children, who are warehoused in cramped and filthy conditions, basic hygiene necessities like toothbrushes and soap until ordered by a court to do so. 
Although it lacks the sheer awfulness of Trump's immigrant ringolevio, his new claim that his own handpicked Federal Reserve chair, allied and other world leaders and the ever-culpable news media are sabotaging the American economy to make him look bad -- uttered with pitch-perfect timing as the U.S. slides inexorably into recession and Trump's re-election poll numbers continue to seriously tank -- deserves at least a new low honorable mention. 
Tweeted Trump:
The Fake News Media is doing everything they can to crash the economy because they think that will be bad for me and my re-election.  The problem they have is that the economy is way too strong and we will soon be winning big on Trade, and everyone knows that, including China!
China probably has not gotten that memo, and Trump's weaponized paranoia is by now well known.  But the level of conspiratorial thinking and outright paranoia is off the charts. 
What's Trump going to do next?  Blame his likely defeated next year on a "rigged" election and massive voter fraud? 
Oh, wait.  He already has. 
Or cancel his state visit to Denmark, long a steadfast U.S. ally, because it won't sell Greenland? 
Oh, wait.  He already has. 


Anonymous said...

The Butina prosecution is ongoing. The CI investigation into Russia’s infiltration of the NRA is ongoing.

Shaun Mullen said...

Not sure about Butina, but the CI investigation indeed has not been shut down.