Election Wrecked by an Amerika-hating Bear?
The most disheartening aspect of the November 2016 election was not that the Republicans won with a candidate who was clearly less qualified, less fit, and less prepared to serve as the leader of the free world than his opponent. That’s happened before (don’t forget George Bush in 2000). The real problem with the election of November 2018 is that it might well have been engineered in the Kremlin, aided and abetted (to what degree remains to be seen) by officials in 45’s campaign. And, now the charade continues with the cooperation and consent of the Republican party. And, all these shenanigans seem to have happened right under the noses of our law enforcement agencies, like FBI.
Anybody paying attention to news reports even casually during the election of 2018 would know about the interference of Russia at various key points. All the US Intelligence agencies described the interference in scary detail. Clinton even confronted 45 about it in a debate — and her portrayal of him as a Russian puppet has ended up being largely true! So, the facts that are coming out now about the degree of involvement of 45’s campaign provide detail and context, but they are hardly a surprise.
America is supposed to be the most mature democracy in the world. We never tire of lecturing everyone else about how democracy works. Now, no one (not our smartest political analysts or our most astute law enforcement types) is able to tell us exactly how badly the election was mangled by Russian interference.
We are told that the election results must be accepted and we need to move on. That makes sense if the election was a fair representation of public sentiment and desire. Clearly, there is a good chance that it was NOT! How can anyone, who is a patriot, not be concerned about whether we, as an electorate, got played in 2016?
The Bear is Still in the White House!
45 engaged Michael Flynn as National Security adviser. Flynn was a big part of 45’s campaign, giving the campaign credibility with his so-called national security chops! Yet, Flynn had to resign under a cloud of suspicion as it became apparent he had been talking to the Russian ambassador to ease sanctions imposed by Obama and had been paid for being an agent for the sordid Government of Turkey, even though he conveniently forgot to mention these meetings when questioned by reporters. Michael Flynn was not appointed to some low level position. He was appointed to be 45’s closest security related adviser. How he managed to get his security clearance for this position remains a big mystery.
The real issue though is NOT Flynn. People lie to avoid accountability for inconvenient decisions they might have made. The problem is 45 — he wanted Flynn. They were briefed that Flynn was big trouble by Sally Yates, an outgoing Obama administration official. They did not care.
45’s campaign was full of unseemly characters with a penchant for Russia. This includes his erstwhile campaign manager, Paul Manafort; his confidante and political gadfly Roger Stone, the utterly bizarre Carter Page, and Attorney General (and honorary Confederate leader) Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. Sessions lied before the US Senate Panel about his contact with the Russian ambassador, and was never held to account. Even 45’s son-in-law (the “Secretary of Everything” in this administration) managed to “forget” his contacts with the Russian ambassador.
The Republican Motto: Party over Country!
Now, let us come to the most craven and crass specimens of humans in Washington D.C. – the Republicans in the House and Senate. These guys have clearly decided that 45 has given them the best chance to enact their pet, completely retrograde legislative agendas: repeal Obama Care, deport immigrants, treat Muslims as terrorists, build the wall, lower taxes, etc. etc. And, the fact that the 45’s administration may be compromised by a hostile foreign power (Russia) is of no concern to Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Both of them were briefed about Russian interference in the election (and ongoing issues with 45’s administration as it relates to Russia), and they don’t care to convey even mild concern!
Republicans used to talk about Democrats as “soft on Defense” — meaning Democrats preferred to try peace before making war. No Republican has yet to voice concern (let alone panic) over the very real prospect that 45 is a Putin puppet. Think about it: you have heard 45 insult and badmouth everyone under the sun — except for Putin. While the FBI is supposedly investigating all the members of 45’s campaign for active collusion and coordination with Russian intelligence in the campaign of 2018, the Republicans apparently have no concern about that national security threats posed by the real possibility that 45’s administration is compromised and is doing Russia’s bidding. America First, indeed!
The Republican darlings of the press (such as John McCain, Lindsay Graham, and Susan Collins) make noises about the Russia connections to give the impression that they care about America than they do about their Party. But, they have done NOTHING! Devin Nunez, the Republican Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, was in charge of “investigating” the administration to see where there is anything to the suspicions that people have. He had to recuse himself because he was exposed to simply be running interefering and thwarting his own investigation (how crazy is that!) on behalf of 45’s administration. Now, Richard Burr, the Senate Intelligence Committee chair is also dragging his feet and slowing the investigation down while feigning cooperation.
This is not the Republican Party of Eisenhower or even Reagan — staunch patriots, ever protective of national interests as the paramount value and priority over petty partisan gain. Whatever you thought of that Republican party, they were Americans first and foremost, not willing to sell out their country in exchange for advancement of themselves or their political party.
Et Tu, FBI? Say it Ain’t So!
Speaking of choosing “party over country”, FBI Director James Comey (yes, he’s a Republican, in case you were wondering) owes the American people a genuine, honest investigation into the 45 administration’s involvement with Russia in the election. Comey himself played a huge role in affecting the election. Just how partisan his decisions were remains to be seen — but there’s a very sizable cloud of suspicion over his venerable agency (often seen as a model of integrity, and “above politics” since the days of J. Edgar Hoover) and him.
All through the campaign of 2016, Comey never revealed that 45 and his people were under a COUNTER-INTELLIGENCE investigation for collusion with the Russians (yes, the RUSSIANS!). That is as serious as it gets at the FBI — we’re talking about betraying your own country to gain political power. Indeed, Comey did not reveal this until March 2017 — after the election had long been in the books.
Not blabbing about an ongoing investigation indiscriminately is standard operating procedure for the FBI. Yet, Comey was as chatty as a teenage school-girl in love when it came to Hillary Clinton. He went out of his way to give all kinds of unsolicited opinions and critiques on her email server, even though the FBI had already decided that there would be no indictments against Clinton. And, he sent the letter ten days before the election about “re-opening” the investigation (by looking at more emails on the infamous Anthony Weiner’s computer). It amounted to nothing — but it put the final nail into the coffin of Clinton’s misbegotten election campaign of 2018.
Fairness in elections is not something we can afford to play with. The consent and trust of the population at large (those who win in an election, but more importantly those who lose) depends crucially on the feeling that the results of the election reflect the true intent of a majority of the voters in the country. We cannot be happy with every election outcome, but being able to ACCEPT the result comes from the sense of fairness and transparency in the election process.
And, the questions must be asked: In what sense is the integrity of the United States intact if its elections can be manipulated so easily and obviously? What does it mean for our future if there are no tangible legal or political consequences for those worked with Russia from the campaign of 45 to get the result they wanted from our election system? And, how can an administration be so obviously influenced by an adversary power and not pay any price whatsoever? In what sense is the United States a sovereign nation if its institutions are so compromised by foreign powers?