The year is 1954. The government seems packed with Russian sympathizers. The prospect of subversion is frighteningly real. Even high-level US military personnel have become suspect of having inappropriate contacts with Russia. It is hard to defend those who have had interactions with America’s adversary, without risk of incrimination, or at the least loss of reputation. Joseph McCarthy’s relentless questioning of ties to the Communist Party was enough to destroy many. That was 1954, but there is a striking similarity to 2017. The Washington Post headline “Brennan’s explosive testimony just made it harder for the GOP to protect Trump” brings back that national paranoia of the cold war. We study Joseph McCarthy and his accusations with the assurance that that dark phase of our history is over. But unfortunately that is hardly the case. At least McCarthy had the law to provide a rationale for his attacks, the McCarran Act of 1950, which was passed over President Truman’s veto. Brennan’s testimony laid out the possibility that there “were interactions and contacts between U.S. persons and the Russians” that needed further investigation. Did we pass a new McCarran Act making contacts with the Russians an activity that requires investigation? Probably not, especially since the Act of 1950 was struck down by the Supreme Court. But a law is not necessary when fear is gripping the country that Russia may be manipulating some of our leaders. The left claims this manipulation is real because of the numerous “contacts” between members of the Trump team and the “Russians”. It started with an allegation that the Kremlin was responsible for Hillary’s loss. When that was shown not to be true, it became “Trump colluded with the Russians”, again nothing to back that up. By now, however, the idea that these allegations must be true because of “contacts and interactions” is nothing more than a circular theory that relies on the oft-repeated allegation to be proof itself. It is now baked into the national psyche through clever manipulation by Democrats and the media, who dislike Trump. There are no laws alleged to have been broken. Nor is there even evidence of any activity that would be in violation of such non-existing law. All we have is “contacts and interactions”. The case has been built on non-existing laws and non-existing evidence of violations of those “laws” to conclude there’s some smoke there. We keep hearing that where there’s smoke, there’s fire. No, where there’s smoke there’s smoke. Believe it or not, talking to a Russian isn’t a felony, yet. Some Washington elites are channeling their inner McCarthy to build a case that just having those contacts means there is a sinister intent. And just like in those good old days, if one defends those contacts, that person should be suspect. Hollywood suffered most from the McCarthy Blacklist, but has either forgotten or is just trying to get even. The media frenzy shows just how a narrative without much more than some innuendo and speculation can be built into an all-consuming obsession. Arthur Miller, who wrote The Crucible, “was inspired to write a drama reflecting the mass cultural and political hysteria …in America.” Is there another Arthur Miller willing to stand up to the media today?
A lesson in disrupting DC
On November 8, 2016, after a bitter and grueling campaign, a large portion of the country let out a sigh of relief and thought an eight-year nightmare was at last coming to an end. It doesn’t get much more satisfying than to elect a president with a real agenda, and to maintain the House and Senate. However, on May 17, 2017, Robert Mueller was appointed special counsel after months of unprecedented attacks on the president. As a result, another obstacle has been put in the path of the Trump agenda. The Trump administration will in all likelihood come out of this skirmish better positioned than before Mueller’s appointment, and therefore it’s definitely premature to push the panic button. In the end, I believe the president will succeed even though it only takes a small number of strategically entrenched people with some flimsy conspiracy theories to wreak havoc. Our Founders would be really upset to see the minority calling the shots, and that’s what’s happening. On that note, it may be time to consider supporting a convention of the states under Article V of the Constitution. We cannot prevent the obstructionism, but it can make it more difficult in the future if we are able to ratify some critical amendments.
In the meantime, we need to ask what is really behind the MSM frenzy. Is the problem with Russian interference truly the most important thing Senator Warner has ever done? Not even close, unless of course he’s led a very uneventful life and doesn’t get out much. With a little misdirection (express dismay at a violation of our electoral system), conjecture (Putin is Trump’s good buddy) and implausible conclusion (the Kremlin helped Trump to give Russia a puppet in the White House), the Democrats and media have built a case. When you delve into the facts you realize it’s built like a house of cards. The rhetoric is so over the top and coming at such a furious pace that it’s hard to step back and examine those facts. The tragedy is that although the hostility toward Donald Trump is outrageous, the real loss to the country is inexcusable. A handful of career politicians and an out-of-control, unaccountable media, i.e. the swamp dwellers, are holding the country hostage. All the while wasteful spending, high taxes, deficits and gridlock continue. How much does one have to hate Trump to sacrifice the needs of the country? The swamp dwellers throw out explosive accusations to start things moving in their direction, similar in effect to the large intestine reaction to the drink often used for colonoscopy prep.
Clearly Democrats and the media get easily outraged, at least when Trump is involved. These swamp dwellers fully understand the Russian meddling in our electoral process was intended to create chaos, and while decrying it, are doing their best to fuel more chaos. Good strategy – – complain about what would happen if the world could no longer trust our electoral system, and then tell the world not to trust our electoral system! Of course, it’s hypocritical, but they get away with it, at least in the short term. They use terms like “election meddling” and “collusion” the way McCarthy used “Communism” to get a similar emotional reaction. To accept any of the hypotheses without any factual basis, requires the belief that not only is it plausible but that Putin could engineer an improbable, and therefore brilliant come from behind victory for Trump, while foolishly leaving his fingerprints all over his involvement (something that even the least sophisticated criminal hackers could avoid). Also, it’s no secret that the Kremlin has been at it for decades here and in many other democratic countries. They have never succeeded, and hardly even rated a mention in the news, but the likes of Congressman Schiff and Senators Warner and McCain seem determined to change that. Only a denizen of the DC swamp is able to bring our government to a grinding halt using the Vladimir Putin playbook without being ashamed. Clearly, progressives and the Kremlin are on the same page – – inflict maximum pain on the US, albeit for different reasons. The underlying allegation is so questionable that respected law professors, Alan Derschowitz and Jonathan Turley question what crime has been committed. In a blog post entitled Trump’s Inner Nixon: Is it possible to have a cover up without a crime? Turley states “I am still unsure of the major crime being investigated under the facts that are currently known.” Gregg Jarrett goes further in pointing out that collusion is not a crime. The appointment of Robert Mueller may never put the matter to rest to the satisfaction of Senator Warner, unless he can find something more meaningful to do. A simple constitutional amendment to establish term limits could drain some of these career swamp creatures who have a vested interest in sowing the seeds of disruption.
We’ve seen disdain for this country by progressives for years, but never before the Trump presidency did they have so much to lose, and they are panic-stricken. Disrespect for our constitutional institutions is now at a fever pitch. No private conversation of the president is sacred. Unlawful disclosure of sensitive or secret information discussed in the White House is applauded, even though the ability of the government to function is hampered almost without precedent. The leaders of the Democrat party openly admit to doing everything in their power to make certain important government positions do not get filled so that departments and agencies, many of which retain appointees from the Obama administration, cannot operate in the best interests of the Trump agenda. A legislature and executive with the best of intentions are powerless under the current Constitution to stop obstructionism grounded only in politics and bad faith. The Constitution needs to protect the rights of the majority, and maybe, forgive me, make the press more accountable.
Each new anti-Trump attack, and it is now almost daily, is geared to locking up the government in a manner as bad as a shutdown. It started with claiming a Trump/Putin relationship, and then a Kremlin coordinated attack on our electoral process. Why is this now considered a catastrophe? It’s happened before without the fanfare. We’ve also seen hacking of financial, health and personal records that have been going on almost without notice until now. Why is “hacking” a campaign, without any demonstrable consequence on the election results considered reason enough to bring the government to a halt? In spite of the failure to make a coherent case, Democrats can put up roadblocks almost without limitation because there is no way to stop them without being accused of obstruction.
Regarding the disclosure of “classified” information to Sergey Lavrov, under Article II, Section 2 the president is commander-in-chief. As such, until Trump the commander-in-chief’s foreign policy discussions may have been criticized at times but never claimed to be illegal, and certainly not suggested to be subject to the approval of the Washington Post editorial board. The president has always decided what foreign entities to work with and how to share information. Even if FDR’s discussion with Stalin at Yalta had been published, it is doubtful that the Post would have hinted at impeachment. Once again, this demonstrates the ability of the swamp dwellers to selectively pervert, for political purposes, the constitutional authority of the president.
There is one piece of this puzzle that doesn’t quite fit. While some may be hoping to find a recording of Trump promising Putin something like the return of Alaska in payment for Russia getting dirt on the Clinton campaign, it is highly unlikely. But assuming that Moscow did meddle, and that the Trump campaign colluded, what happens next, other than Trump haters smashing more windows? Would we cut diplomatic ties with Russia? Would Congressman Cummings declare that Trump didn’t win? Would Maxine Waters call for impeachment? It is doubtful that any meaningful action would be taken. Members of Congress have told us they are outraged, but what do they hope to achieve at the end of the investigations since violation of law is very doubtful? Maybe Democrats will get lucky and trip up people associated with the Trump campaign like Scooter Libby was during the Bush administration. Libby didn’t break any law concerning the “outing of Valerie Plame”, but was prosecuted for committing perjury during the investigation. On the subject of outrage, when the Democrats released the discredited dossier put together by a former British intelligence officer, connecting Trump to Putin, were they trying to use a foreign actor to influence a U.S. election? Should that be investigated?
The biggest prize for the Democrats would be to make certain nothing gets done in Washington. Globalists would see the US sink further in prestige and importance and maybe even descend into chaos, which of course, our intelligence community says was one of Putin’s goals in the first place. Congress would probably issue numerous recommendations to prevent future occurrences. All these recommendations would have the same success as we have had preventing hacking of bank, medical, tax and credit card records, that is, not at all. Sadly, a few false stories by an enemy state, and some hacked email accounts can make the US look like a banana republic. America’s adversaries need only get those bots and trolls working on every future election and we will collapse from within. But we won’t go down without extensive committee hearings, special prosecutors and reports.
For years, millions of the most sensitive personal and financial records have been hacked by the Russians, the Chinese, as well as domestic and foreign criminals and we’ve paid little attention. Now maybe our government will try to do something. Unfortunately, it may only be an issue when someone named Trump is elected.