March 4, 2017

Focus, People. Focus.

You can say that Donald Trump's administration has a Russia problem, if you want, but they have a bigger problem than that.

First, Russia:
  • Seventeen US intelligence agencies have said they are confident in their assessment that the Russians interfered in the presidential election, via hacking or through dissemination of fake news. 
  • We know that people believe fake news - and that people who didn't or don't support Trump are not immune to fake news. I know this from my own social media pages. Even articles that flat out say they are satire, or communicate they're satire by allowing you to read the facts behind their fake stories, are widely shared with OMG comments, as well as with long tirades on the subject of the satire.
  • We know that a number of Trump's current and former close associates had current or former relationships with Russia, or Russians, or interests in Russia, or business in Russia or with Russians in other places. 
  • And we know that many of those close associates had encounters of one sort or another with Russians, particularly the Russian ambassador, during the campaign or since the election, including Michael Flynn and Jared Kushner and Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III and Carter Page and J.D. Gordon. The whole list of them, or I should say, the whole list of them that has been discovered so far, is in this Washington Post article. 
  • We know that US sanctions against Russia were discussed in at least one of these meetings, because the "intelligence community" as Trump refers to it, has it on tape. 
  • We don't know whether Trump has or had any of those relationships, because he cannot keep his story straight. He met Putin in a green room, or he maybe he never met him, he doesn't seem to be able to keep that part straight. His son indicated that Russian money was pouring in to their company, but we don't know whether that was true a few years ago when he said it but is no longer true, or if its still true and they know it, or if it's still true and they don't know. 

Now, the bigger problem: The Trump Administration, in its infancy, is a swamp. 
veritable pastiche photo

The very kind of swamp that Trump is allegedly draining by issuing his Executive Order requiring a signed ethics statement from certain government employees.

The very kind of swamp that ignores strongly worded recommendations and opinions of the Office of Government Ethics, regardless of what issue the OGE is addressing.

The very kind of swamp that thinks Kellyanne Conway acted 'inadvertently' when she offered up her "free commercial" from the White House briefing room. In an interview on Trump & Friends, Conway told us to "Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online" after telling us she owned some of the line. This was after the kerfuffle caused when the brand itself used a 60 Minutes interview with the first family as a marketing ploy, suggesting that we could get ourselves Ivanka's favorite bracelet for a mere $10K. I was going to rush out and get one, but you know, I had to rearrange my sock drawer. 

The very kind of swamp where the now-Attorney General raised his right hand high into the air and lied to Congress during his confirmation hearing. I honestly don't care that his lie was about meetings with Russia; I honestly do care that he's either unethical, or unintelligent, each of which would be disqualifiers for the Attorney General. 

Either he lied on purpose and thought he could get away with it, or he's so blind to what's been going on in America for the past six or eight months, and oblivious to what happened in the White House just last month, when Lyin' Mike Flynn was fired, that he really thought he could say he hadn't had meetings or discussions or conversations that he clearly had, that were witnessed by other people including his own staffers? 

If he's that unaware about Russia, about current events, about the importance of not lying to Congress. one has to wonder what else is out there about which he might actually or pretend to be blissfully unaware?

The very kind of swamp where the President himself lies, daily, knowingly, purposefully, and either denies lying or blames others for the lies he tells. 

The Trump Administration is a swamp of people who think that running America is the same as running a big old family business, One where obfuscation and diversion and dismissal and deflection are the norm. One where, knowingly or ignorantly, rules are skirted, or it's pretended that there are no rules. Where the moral compass is provided by the man in the mirror, or by that same man in the corner office, or by other members of the family, or hand-picked associates, without external scrutiny. 
 
It's incredibly easy to focus on Russia --too easy, actually. It's equally easy to lose focus on the swamp, and that we simply cannot do. If it's this bad, this consistent, less than 100 official days in, how bad will it be at the end of four years? 

Focus, people. We cannot afford to lose focus.