BY VERN TURNER
On April 5, I left for 3½ weeks of fabulous travel to a most remarkable, clean and friendly country, New Zealand. Why, they’re so backward, they actually don’t care what your religion or ethnicity is. They are so conservative, they actually invest in their environment, their children’s education and the health of their citizens. Of course, they have single-payer, universal health care for everyone, even visitors should they be in need.
The national mood is to preserve what uniqueness is left from the scourge of the earliest Europeans upon this remarkable land. As a biologist, I was enraptured by their biology and what they’re doing to preserve it, expand it and nurture it. Good on ’em!
But the Kiwis kept asking me these annoying questions about how we managed to elect Donald Trump as our president. It was painful to have to explain the antiquated, and now mis-used Electoral College to them while watching their brows furrow and their jaws drop.
“Yes, I know,” I’d say. “The last two times a minority vote-elected president happened for us, we got illegal wars that are still raging, a near collapse of the world’s economic system and a lurch to the right by so-called conservative politics. Now, we have a despot-in-waiting, trying to overcome severe psychological disorders such that he can last long enough to finish the job of destroying our democracy and imposing some sort of populist will on the majority of the people.”
The very nice and polite New Zealanders just shook their heads and pointed out that their economy and well-being is linked to ours. I could see the hint of great concern in their eyes. “No, I’m not making this up,” I’d say. Then, I came home to the current situation.
Some things hadn’t changed. Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway were still spinning lies and idiocy like they were perpetual-motion tops, all the while castigating the press for asking intelligent and probing questions. Things the administration didn’t want to hear became “fake news.” But it got worse.
In yet another fit of absurdity, the president fired James Comey. OK. He can do that. But there is a pattern going on since virtually Day Two of this administration that is chilling and reminiscent of times not long gone by: The Nixon years.
First, Team Trump fired all the U.S. ambassadors around the world, and have yet to replace them all. Only a few to certain countries [Jon Huntsman to Russia] were put in place, while the new SecState ambles through ceremonies without saying a word; he didn’t even take a media component to China. Huh?! Oh. Right. Tillerson is another CEO who is new to politics, just like his new boss. Got that?
Then, every federal prosecutor across the country was let go including Preet Bharara from the lower Manhattan office, this coming after Trump, his ownself, assured Mr. Bharara his job was safe. Why did he do that? Well, among other things being investigated by that office were the shenanigans going on in Trump Tower during the election campaigns that might be construed as collusion with the Russian hacking of our e-mail and internet systems for the purpose of providing disinformation to the American public. It was also working on the Michael Flynn situation of taking money from foreign countries without being registered as a foreign agent, etc., etc.
The point is, that once the investigations started getting close to the potential crimes committed by the Trump-ites, somebody got fired. It may be that many of these federal prosecutors have been replaced, but that is so far down the list of exploding news, that its blip isn’t big enough for the general media.
Now we have the Russian cases … First, Sally Yates, an Obama-era appointee from Justice, ran to the White House to inform them that their National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, may have been compromised by the Russians and perhaps others. Flynn remained in his job for three more weeks and Yates was fired.
Now, why would a sane person fire the messenger who was trying to protect the presidency from insidious sedition or even treason? I don’t know about anyone else, but this sort of drama, after watching the idiocy of Devin Nunes [House Intelligence chair] and the spin machine, makes my head snap right over to the White House itself and the collection of amateur advisors who are attempting to cover things up. It looks an awful lot like a 24/7, Nixonian-level cover-up.
As the stories mount, between collusion with Russia, money-laundering through Cyprus banks [Trump’s SecCommerce, Wilbur Ross, was VP of one of the biggest banks there – why Cyprus? – of Russian ill-gotten money], and outright obfuscation of facts on everything, nearly obvious obstruction of justice by the executive branch and over and outright attacks on the news media [a First Amendment guarantee], one must consider what actually is going on and what dangers are evident to our democracy and the American way of life.
The obviously corrupt attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who once recused himself from anything having to do with investigations into the Russian hacking cases, wrote the letter recommending firing Comey for mishandling the Clinton e-mail affair. What? I guess in Trumpworld, you are only recused when you want to be and can be un-recused when the president says it’s OK.
Moreover, Trump later came out and said he’d already decided to fire Comey because he was tired of the fake stories surrounding the Russian investigation. Unbelievable. As I said, you can’t make this up. No sane publisher would publish this book.
These stories, chilling as they are, are only part of the Trump exhibition of hubris, childishness, paranoia and incompetence. The ridiculous signing ceremonies of executive orders should grab everyone’s attention. The president holding them up to the camera so everyone can see his grotesquely bold signature looks more like a first-grade art class than anything coming from our supposedly sophisticated government. The courts, thankfully, have smacked down the bigoted immigrant E-Os.
The draconian and blatantly unfair health care bills show an utter lack of compassion by Republicans and their obvious reluctance to govern. So much for Trump’s promises to keep the best parts of the ACA. Instead, he gave in to Speaker Paul Ryan’s “plan” – a thinly disguised tax cut for the rich – so he could have a “win” in Congress. Please.
Ryan, of all people, laments how hard it is to transition from being the party of opposition to the governing party. Really? I guess Ryan misses his mentor Ayn Rand and can’t grasp the concept that he should have been governing all along, you know, like the Constitution asks him to do.
This essay could go on with more weird stuff, but the essence of it is that firing people from their jobs is indication that either the boss doesn’t know what the hell he’s doing, or all these people have been incompetent for a long time in their professional lives. This begs the question, of course: How did they get so far along doing difficult and complicated jobs by being incompetent?
No, this essay is about firing somebody [or somebodies] else. This essay is addressed to the responsible and attentive American public who must re-establish their assertion that they are in charge, not a tin-pot fool parading as faux President.
It is also our duty to inform the uninformed, motivate the un-motivated and alert the somnolent to the facts that surround this very dangerous time in our history.
History shows us that when a country has a psychologically unstable, ego-driven, lying nationalist at its helm, it heads straight into the vortex of extinction as a society and nation. The last time the world had to face this kind of autocracy was in 1933 Germany, and we all know how well that worked out.
We are blessed with being a democratic republic based on a marvelously flexible Constitution that, despite its flaws like the Electoral College, allows our representative government to make laws of protection and distribute largesse to the vast majority of its citizens.
The danger we now see, after only a few months in office, is a wildly incompetent executive branch being pandered to by a Republican Party in Congress that does not want to govern. Instead, it wants to make sure that the rich keep getting breaks at the expense of the middle class and the poor.
Republicans haven’t wanted to govern since Lincoln was killed. It’s always been about money and how much can be funneled to those who already have more than they can possibly spend, invest or donate.
So, when we talk about firing people from their jobs, it becomes increasingly clear that we the people of the United States must step up and fire all of those incompetent politicians – from both major parties – who are not governing, who are not defending the Constitution and who refuse to obey the majority views of their constituents. It is time for us to fire them. Fire them all. Hire people willing to work for our citizens, not Wall Street and the banks. That is our duty to our Constitution and our ancestors who wrote it.
– Vern Turner lives in Marble Falls, TX and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Racing to the Brink: The End Game for Race and Capitalism, is available through Amazon.com.