Friday, May 12, 2017

Dan Rather Brings Clarity to the Trump Firing of Comey Controversy

As the story of FBI Director James Comey's firing at the hands of President Trump continues to generate unbelievable publicity and controversy, sides are already being taken for what will likely be a huge political fight.

People who were not fans of this move - and there are a lot of them - are essentially likening this to the much anticipated moment when Trump essentially uses a crisis to grab more power, kind of like his Reichstag fire. 

Now, I am not so sure that this qualifies. After all, Comey is one man, and his getting fired would seem controversial and wrong, but there is one thing that seems very peculiar about this. That would be the fact that he was actively investigating President Trump.

Let us make one other thing that is very related clear, also. Comey is not the first federal employee actively investigating President Trump to be fired by him, either. There was Preet Bharara and Sally Yates. Clearly, the president's chosen response to anyone actively investigating him is to fire him, which essentially defeats the purpose and supposed free range that those investigating the president are supposed to have, at least in theory. It also seems to imply a message by the president that he is above the law, and that he can essentially control the investigations through fear and intimidation. In other words, he is sending the message that he can and will go after anyone investigating him, or perhaps even generally standing in his way, at least to the extent that he can. 

The implication would be that this man, who now holds the highest office in the land, is indeed what so many people feared he was: a fascist who will not hesitate to use his high office and his power to silence dissent. The problem is that he already holds the highest office in the land, and that, for all intents and purposes, he is in the position of having a lot of resources and, yes, power, under his command, and he clearly does not believe that anyone can really stop him. He has as little faith in the laws and in the constitution as many of us feared, which has been in evidence repeatedly already by those times when he at least bent, if not outright broke, the rules. 

However, this country is a nation governed by laws. These laws, at least in theory, are supposed to protect American citizens from potential despots who aim to grab more power, and threaten this system of rule by law. In the past, powerful people have been dragged down by these laws, including President Nixon, the last president to have fired federal employees who were in the middle of an active investigation of him. Knowing the history of Nixon, as most do, this makes such comparisons less than flattering of Trump and his administration, and suggests that something really stinks about all of this. It feels more and more like a cover up.

As I mentioned yesterday, I do not feel that Trump's apparent ties with Russia - a story that I had a difficult time believing was real until this latest news stories suggested that, indeed, Trump is going to extraordinary lengths to try and end any and all investigations into his team's ties with Russia - was a real story. It seemed to me the Democrat's answer to Republicans pining for an Iraq invasion on the premise of WMD's. In other words, it seemed like a false flag, just some excuse upon which to blame Hillary Clinton's election defeat. I still do not believe that Russia caused Clinton the election, because her approval ratings were in the toilet well before all of this. Still, the evidence of real links to Russian interference in the American presidential election, as well as the Trump team's ties to them, are looking more and more substantive, and more and more suspicious, for that matter. 

Now, Trump is not without his fans and supporters, of course, and that includes high ranking government officials. Both Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have essentially tried to kill any moves towards an independent investigation, but that was largely predictable. There are others who are also defending Trump's actions, and rightly pointing out that Democrats themselves were ready to have Comey's head when they were blaming him for Trump's victory in the November elections. FOX News, of course, is predictably defending Trump, and saying that he was right to fire Comey because of incompetence. They are even going so far as to suggest that Democrats should be happy about Comey's firing!

Those guys are serving their own interest, and their mediocrity in this regard could have been predicted, although certainly not condoned. 

The fact of the matter is that no American who has an ounce of pride in our governmental system should be applauding this latest move by Trump. He is acting in a manner that smacks of a powerful man who truly believes himself to be above the law, beyond any kind of checks and balances on his power. Again, he is everything that we feared he would be: a tyrant hell bent on gaining more and more power, even at the expense of the democratic institutions that he swore an oath to uphold. 

All of this seems like very bad news indeed, although this is actually the time when true patriots need to step up, and go beyond their fears. This is a dangerous man at the helm, and he needs to be stopped! We suspected it before, but he has now given us plenty of proof that this is not just fear or paranoia talking. He is every bit as bad and dangerous as we feared, but he is not - I repeated, he is NOT - above the law!

Trump never was fit to be president, and it is a travesty that so many millions of Americans chose to elect hm into office. But nothing can be done about that. 

However, we can do something. In fact, we need to do something, because it really is nothing less than American democracy itself that is at stake! Yes, our democracy has been misused and abused for quite some time now, and all of this foretold a tyrant like Trump threatening it's very existence. But that tyrant is upon us now, and he is a dangerous and reckless man.

Now, I do not mean simple resistance in the political sense, waiting 2018 to try and vote more Democrats than Republicans to Congress in order to get a majority there that will stand opposed to Trump. Nor do I mean even the 2020 presidential election, hoping that at least some of the pro-Trump supporters will have wized up by then, and that, failing that, at the very least, the mainstream Democrats will know the importance of galvanizing their base of support, to really impress upon them that this man needs to go, and then trying to shove somebody like Hillary Clinton down our throats, and insisting that she is the best choice.

What I mean is staying abreast of the issues, even though they might be depressing to stay on top of these days. Also, trying to force a reaction, trying to force those in power to keep this president's powers in check, since he seems so ready to use them at his discretion, even when he is exceeding his powers.

In other words, we need to restore the balance of power. Even while some suggest, perhaps even accurately, that Vice-President Mike Pence may be worse than Trump, the fact of the matter is that the message for Trump and Trump wanna-be's would be that there are indeed limits to things, and that if you exceed these, there will be a serious price to pay.

To that end, I have been pleasantly surprised by former CBS Nightly News anchorman Dan Rather since Trump's election win in November. He really has been able to succinctly diagnose the major problems with Trump and his whole approach to the presidency, and he managed to do it yet again this time, in summarizing this odd and, frankly, dangerous situation regarding Comey's dismissal. Here is some of what he said:

"The independence of our law enforcement is at the bedrock of our democracy. That independance [sic], already grievously shaken under the brief tenure of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, is now shattered by uncertainty.

"The firing of an FBI Director is always a very serious matter in normal times. But these times aren’t normal. Far from it. The Bureau is engaged in one of the most important and perilous investigations of this or any other presidency—the investigation of connections between the Trump election campaign and the Russian government.  

"The questions mount and the shadow grows darker. What were those connections? What did Mr. Trump know about them and when did he know it? How can the President explain the serious allegations against his former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn? And what is President Trump hiding in this regard? It’s imperative that the nation—We The People—get answers to those questions. It will take time, but the process must start now.  

"A politicized FBI is the last thing we need as we struggle through the maze of lies, concealment and ever-deepening mysteries. The last time a President fired prosecutors who were investigating him was Richard Nixon during the widespread criminal conspiracy known for short as “Watergate.” We all know how that turned out. In real ways, this potential scandal and coverup are much graver. We are talking about the very security of the United States and the sanctity of our republic. 

Then, Rather appeals to American patriotism - real patriotism, as opposed to the "America First" brand of mindless flag waving and knee jerk loyalty to anything and everything that Trump says and does. He uses the words of one great, albeit controversial, Founding Father to buttress his case:

Thomas Paine famously wrote in 1776: “These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. “  

"I see this as having the potential for a similar reflection point in our American story. If there is a cover up, if our nation is at the risk that has certainly been more than suggested, it is incumbent upon everyone who claims to love this nation to demand answers.  

We need a special prosecutor. We need an independent investigation. There is, obviously, much we don’t know about what has just happened, why it happened and why now. Just as obviously there is much more, so much more that we need know. We need to damn the lies and expose the truth.”

Dan Rather Just Gave The BEST Response To Trump’s Comey Firing  BY ROBERT HAFFEY   PUBLISHED ON MAY 9, 2017:

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