Friday, July 27, 2018

Swamp Gas

Next newspaper column:
Every time I’m readying something non-political, the swamp off-gasses another stench. Comes another Trumpian lie, the exposure of which, for Trumpists, won’t change a thing. 
Nevertheless, he persisted.  
In the latest episode of “As the World Burns,” the Department of Justice released a much-redacted but revelatory four-hundred-page copy of its request for a warrant, plus three subsequent renewals, to wiretap Carter Page, petroleum lobbyist, former Trump (oxymoron alert) policy adviser, and self-described “informal adviser” to the Kremlin. After those requests, granted by four Republican-appointed federal judges, were made public, there followed a tweenami by the Donald, who’d have us believe they confirmed pretty much everything he’s ever said, possibly back to when he beat up a kid in military school. 
There’s no way Trump made it through the first page, of course, let alone all four-hundred. His claims are based on the stylings of Three Dolts on a Divan (an appellation I wish I’d invented), otherwise known as “Fox and Friends.” In fact, the document categorically disproves Trump’s claim that the FBI misled the courts about the “Steele Dossier.” His non-stop prevarication to the contrary, beginning before and continuing after the release, it shows the FBI explicitly informed the courts about Steele’s potential partisanship. Which also proves Devin Nunes flat-out lied about that, and much else, in his highly-touted “memo.” Lying about a matter of critical national importance ought to end his political career. In another reality, another party, where truth begat admiration, it would.  
Nunes admitted not reading the FISA requests. Trey “Benghazi” Gowdy, however, did, and chose not to call out Nunes’ lies. Peas of a podium, are they. Even with the redactions, we’ve learned the response by Democrats on the Republican-majority (oxymoron alert #2) “House Intelligence” Committee, unmasking Nunes’ scam, was accurate. Republicans lied. Democrats told the truth. (cf. feather, knocked down by.)  
Whether or not Carter Page was a Russian agent is immaterial to the propriety of the warrant. What’s at issue is whether there was reason to consider it a possibility, and the pages provide plenty of evidence. So do the subsequent renewal applications, which, approved by those Republican-appointed judges, while largely redacted, imply substantive information was being collected. Trump’s twit-fest notwithstanding, it’s clear the decision to investigate Page’s dealing with Russia was neither unmeritorious nor political. Even breeze-blown Marco Rubio agrees.  
Following his life-long pattern, Trump, who, conjuring George Orwell, just told veterans at a rally not to believe their eyes and ears, is making another glaringly dishonest claim. (His Orwellianism was aimed at the same press that’s been highlighting the plight of those same veterans ever since Bush invaded Iraq.) He’s lying about facts undeniable, confirmed by reading actual words in an actual document. Among today’s Republicans, though, who once bought principles high and now sold them low, Trump’s approval remains around ninety-percent. 
It’s as if they approve him because he lies, kowtows to murderous dictators, despoils and plunders our lands. Granted, that’s ninety-percent of a minority of people, and his approval has fallen among Americans as a whole (latest Quinnipiac: 38%); but it still defies understanding. Other than greed, what explains a once-great party’s fawning capitulation to an egregious liar? In rational times, Republicans called out their own liars. Even created the EPA, the Clean Water and Endangered Species Acts. What happened?  
Last week, another reader joined those declaring love for Trump because he "makes liberals’ heads explode.” It’s beginning to sound like the explanation, even as it admits simple-mindedness as their criterion for approval. Pollute air and water, heads explode! Cool. Crush people’s access to health care! Oh, look: liberals call it cruel, so let’s love it. Unprecedented deficits, more spending on the military than the Pentagon requested, slashing programs aimed at helping people lift themselves out of poverty, cutting veterans’ benefits, making climate change worse, twelve-billion taxpayer bucks to compensate farmers for losses due to (“The greatest!”) tariffs. Plants closing. We didn’t much like those things a while back, but, hey, liberals hate ‘em. So, yay Trump.
And this, just in: if Michael Cohen testifies, as he’s said, that Trump knew of the upcoming meeting in Trump Tower with Russian agents offering dirt on Hillary, then we’re at a crossroads for Trumpists: either you give up on a “president” in power with the help of a foreign enemy, or you admit to your own sort of treason.
Update: I replaced the original ending, which was posted for a while, with the paragraph addressing Michael Cohen's claim that Trump knew about the Trump Tower meeting with Russian agents.

[Image source]


  1. Excellent column, Sid, especially tossing the 'hate' word back where it belongs. Naturally, the dog's breakfast crowd will see that as your head exploding.

    More Trump fakery is on tap for today: his latest folded arms "... mumble, mumble, nobody's been tougher, mumble, greatest, mumble, Russians, mumble, election security ..." circus act.

  2. "makes liberals’ heads explode.”

    That's the level of ignorance that is Drumpf.

    The tariffs are gonna eat them alive. On the other end...100 billion to the top 1/10 of a percent, on top of the 1.5 trillion they already got for nothing. Boeing got 9 billion for doing jackshit.


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