“Donald Trump sits on a wall;
But Donald Trump fears a great fall.
All would-be king’s horsemen, and would-be king’s men;
Still keep him propped up there, again and again.” – Chicago Dog, 2/2/20
Step #5. Remember Professional Ethics
“When political leaders set a negative example, professional commitments to just practice become more important. It is hard to subvert a rule-of-law state without lawyers, or to hold show trials without judges. Authoritarians need obedient civil servants, and concentration camp directors seek businessmen interested in cheap labor…Professional ethics must guide us precisely when we are told that the situation is exceptional. Then there is no such thing as ‘just following orders.’” – Timothy Snyder, On Tyranny
“The Duce (Benito Mussolini) himself…assumed the foreign portfolio…and intended to be more than a figurehead Foreign Minister…Because of the distrust with which (Mussolini’s) Gabinetto (the personal diplomatic arm headed by his son-in-law, Galeazzo Ciano) regarded professional diplomats, its young men placed little reliance on the heads of mission for collection and evaluation of information, but tried to develop an information service of their own, sometimes with grotesque results.” – Craig and Gilbert, The Diplomats, 1919-1939
“…we (Athenians) recommend that you (Melians) should try to get what it is possible for you to get, taking into consideration what we both really do think; since you know as well as we do that, when these matters are discussed by practical people, the standard of justice depends on the equality of power to compel and that in fact the strong do what they have the power to do and the weak accept what they have to accept.” – Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War (431-404 B.C.)
“The initial, personal cause of his (Hitler’s) grievance against the universe can only be guessed at; but at any rate the grievance is there.” – George Orwell, Review of Mein Kampf by Adolf Hitler, 3/21/40
“Whatever happens in the Senate…(President) Trump will be impeached forever” – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) Bismarck Tribune, 1/20/20
To call out a cult of organized ignorance through grievance politics is to arrest the thieves of your soul, but when the cult leader is Donald Trump, it is no easy task. Especially when a craven Republican Senate refuses their duty to face evidence and witnesses. Revelations by Ukrainian American Lev Parnas and former NSC Director John Bolton, on top of the solid case made by Congressman Adam Schiff and the House Impeachment Managers, are stunning. They show conspiracies against American democracy and the rule of law that embody President Trump, his followers who have jettisoned common sense, and his enablers, who have jettisoned common decency. These revelations blew my mind, but were old news to my KGB animal friends.
High Plains Reader: I believe the House Managers’ case against President Trump. I am grateful for courageous military and civil servants in American government, like Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, confounding a tyrant President. I can even believe John Bolton. But can we believe Lev Parnas that President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, OMB Director Mick Mulvaney, Attorney General William Barr, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC), Congressman Devin Nunes (R-CA), Presidential Lawyer in the Senate Trial, Pat Cipollone, and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have all engaged in criminal conspiracy to use public office for private gain, cover it up to suppress the truth, and/or destroy Congressional oversight in the process?
Putin: Of course you can, but convicting them in court, or convincing a critical mass of American voters, is another matter. Lev Parnas was a point man for Trump and his Mussolini style diplomat “Call Rudy,” in their “get dirt on Joe Biden caper,” despite undermining rule of law and democracy in President Zelensky’s Ukraine. What makes you think Trump or Rudy care about American democracy and rule of law, if they don’t care about it anywhere else?
HPR: The indicted Mr. Parnas is certainly no angel.
Rasputin: There are worse things than fallen angels, and a Trump dictatorship and McConnell oligarchs are some of them. If it takes being honest to save your skin, honesty can be a really good idea. Lev Parnas is a “fall guy” who decided not to take the fall. As soon as he realized the information he had about Trump’s attempt to destroy his political rival, Vice President Joe Biden, was going to hurt him rather than protect him, he spilled the beans on national T.V. That was a better option than keeping quiet in William Barr’s Criminal Justice system, like the alleged “suicide,” Jeffrey Epstein, who may have known more about Trump than what was good for him.
Schickelgruber: Attorney General Barr is Trump’s chief enforcer, not America’s top advocate. Don’t you know anything? The first demand Hitler made in 1933, in return for bringing his voter base cult into the Government as Chancellor, was that his man, Wilhelm Frick, be put in charge of the German Police Forces.
HPR: That’s awful! You mean the Nazis were a cult?
Schickelgruber: Of course! In 1920, that’s all they were, but when the National Socialist German Workers Party (the Nazis) made it to the big time from 1933-1945, historian Alan Bullock referred to them as “the gutter elite.”
HPR: They sure covered both sides of the political street. I suppose Nazis, like “The Joker,” appealed to folks who felt ignored by moneyed and privileged elites of that time.
Torquemada: “The Joker” of “Batman” fame is Hollywood’s breaking the news of Nazism in our midst as directly as they dare. “Tinsel town” sees Trump’s messages of misogyny, racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia against Muslims for what they have always been in modern times: the strategy of those who hate democratic fairness against those who wish they had it.
HPR: But why do victims of unfairness vote for the least fair people of all?
Putin: “Anger” has its reasons. Trump and his people, though incompetent in governing the Domestic and Foreign Affairs of America, are not stupid in realizing resentments that govern their voter base. Trump’s critics should take his voters seriously, if only for their common humanity with those who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. “Citizen” Trump, of course, has done nothing to deserve being taken seriously, except to occupy an office that can hurt us all.
Rasputin: Trump enablers, like Mike Pompeo, know this, but hate being caught out by the free press in a conspiracy against democracy. The Secretary of State knew damn well that NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly could find Ukraine on a blank map of Europe when he blew up at her. What really pisses him off is that he knows that she knows that Trump’s blank mind couldn’t find Ukraine on a blank map of Europe to save his life; and, worse, doesn’t care.
Putin: Trump is just another spoiled rich kid who thinks he should always be treated like a big shot. He seethes with resentment for those who not only don’t take him seriously, but ignore or laugh at him. One should not disdain Trump voters who feel a similar pain, but do not, as yet, understand the illegitimate reasons for its origins in Trump.
Schickelgruber: And Trump has been gifted with charismatic ability to translate his private resentments into national political power in 2016, due to swing States like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, which had gone to Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. But, as the 2018 elections brought them back to Democratic candidates at the State and Local level, one could conclude that being pissed off about neglect by elites is not the same thing as being stupid.
Mr. Swamp Fox: Despite yet another wish for change in the status quo in 2016, the swamp is now filled with even worse creatures than before. Righteous, but focused, anger is still justified.
Chicago Dog: “Being stupid” is what remains for the cult that has formed around Trump in Republican Party circles in Washington, D.C. Nervous Republican Senators, who value reelection or Party loyalty above all else, fear voters they have gulled into his support for the sake of huge tax breaks, power hunger, and their social prejudices. They fear for their souls somewhat less, but mostly fear that more revelations of Trump’s criminality will expose their complicity. It has been Mitch McConnell’s job to make sure that those truths don’t get out.
HPR: Mitch can stop an impeachment trial from securing legitimate documents and witnesses, but can he stop the truth from getting out?
Rocinante: Probably not, but much of human history shows us that “hypocrisy is the homage that vice pays to virtue.” Moscow Mitch is playing a “so what?” card to save his soulless Republican Majority, at least through the primaries. He is betting that Trump’s phony grievance act on the basis of race, gender, and class continues to beguile those with real grievances against foul play by D.C. and Wall Street. Nevertheless, the specter of blue waves of resentment haunts the Majority Leader in Kentucky as well as nationwide. Obama/Trump voters abandoned Democrats in 2016 just as they abandoned Republicans in 2008, because they were still being screwed by a trickle down system that only trickled up. While the Trump cult may be louder and better financed in 2020, there are signs that it may not be increasing in sufficient numbers to offset Democratic gains.
Señor Perro: Agreed. While Justice can be thwarted in February, a reckoning is not so easily finessed all the way to November. And genuinely aggrieved voters can now see clearly that Mitch McConnell’s Republican Senate is as much to blame as their reckless, clueless Presidential pawn of malefactors of wealth and power in Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, North Korea and China. This cover up is so obvious that a vast majority of American voters are likely to be thinking, in 2020 at least: “friends don’t let friends drive drunk or vote Republican!”
Chicago Dog: Also, some corporate Democrats, for a change, although likely ego driven, are making a full-throated and deep pockets commitment to defeating Trump and Trumpism. Former NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s commitment of billions to Democrats, including a serious advertising buy near half time of Super Bowl LIV, gives them a more even playing field with Republican Dark Money. And don’t underestimate energy unleashed by democratic forces choosing hope and activism over despair and indifference. Big bucks, organized lying, voter suppression, xenophobia, and the like may not be enough to overcome truths which Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and the House Impeachment managers have forced upon Republicans in Election Year 2020. Nightmares for Trump and his merry band of miscreants, who so wanted Lev Parnas and John Bolton to keep their mouths shut, will continue.
Putin: Whatever one might think of Lev Parnas, he isn’t stupid. His truths may not make him freer for the time being, but likely safer in the long run. William Barr is a nasty piece of work.
Rasputin: McConnell’s quivering Senate majority, on the other hand, is anything but free from the wrath of an eternally ungrateful Trump and by no means safe from the wrath of a voting public they have stiffed. They have trapped themselves by abetting Trump’s criminality, cover-up, and cowardly bravado. Mitch is caught between the “devil and the deep blue wave.”
Kim Dog Un: Trust Mitch McConnell to prefer the devil at every turn. The “Chinese Curse” is upon us: we live in interesting times.