BY VERN TURNER
The title of this piece is a quote from the late Phil Graham, the former owner and publisher of the Washington Post. He said this in reference to what the news is. It is poignant and necessary for all of us to remember this statement as it reflects so eloquently on our First Amendment rights to a free press.
The so-called Fourth Estate is critical to keeping a democracy on its toes, tyrants in their caves and, above all, to work for the governed, not the government. That last phrase comes from Justice Hugo Black ending his decision to allow the Post to publish the infamous Pentagon Papers in 1971-72.
Daniel Ellsberg may have been the last true patriot with enough courage to expose the rot of no less than five presidents regarding the Vietnam War, its conduct and the lies they told the people of America. Their lies were cloaked under the aegis of “national security.” In all fairness, this sort of paranoia of those times was a direct result of the fear of communism wreaking havoc around the world.
The United States is now in the throes of a horrible spasm of roiling tyranny perpetrated by perhaps the most disgusting human being on Earth. The current president of the United States is sowing fear of the “other” with virtually every sentence he speaks. It’s become a cottage industry to track his lies to the American people.
But unlike the Vietnam secrecy and nefarious plots to destroy communism, these lies are right out in the open for everyone to see. For this president to call the recording of his lies “fake news” is beyond hilarious. It is disgraceful. It disgraces our nation and its people no matter their political affiliation.
Fortunately, our news services are hard on the job. They continue to cut through the tissue paper cover-ups, corruption, graft and illegalities. There is about to be an entire textbook of drafts of the history about to unfold.
Even with all the idiotic posturing and Putin ass-kissing that this president conducts, the most disturbing item surfaced last Sunday. It was the 60 Minutes interview with Andrew McCabe that shook me and may others to their cores.
McCabe stated that Trump didn’t care what his entire intelligence community was saying about North Korea’s nuclear weapons development and that he was going to believe Vladimir Putin instead. Putin, by the way, said something like, “Not to worry. North Korea can’t launch intercontinental ballistic missiles.” And then they did. Still, Trump bows before Putin’s disinformation regularly.
He uses insecure telephones to discuss national matters with his pals at Fox or on Wall Street. You might ask: “He has pals?” Well, of course he does. To them, power is like a flame and they are the moths. They don’t care if they get burned. They are compelled to circle the source of their own destruction. Most of them are Republicans.
There are rumors that the Mueller investigation is almost complete … and yet …. And yet there are terabytes of data from Roger Stone’s “library” of fetidness. Rick Gates, Maria Butina and even Michael Cohen aren’t done providing still more inside information into the Trump crime family and the Republican Party that is prostrate with compliance to the orange lord. Republicans and the president continuously attack the media for each revelation that almost always has been proven true.
Clearly, Donald Trump’s decaying psyche cannot stand the truth presented by the media. His silly temper tantrums, his rambling word salads of nonsense, his utter lack of the facts about anything and his toadyism to Putin all indicate a pathology that should lead to, among other things, an invocation of the 25th Amendment.
From the point of view of rational, objective observers and reporters, this man is wholly unfit to be in the office of president. As I watch the news every day, another reporter does yet another eye roll over what she or he has to report from this administration. Take Stephen Miller … please. This guy drips evil every time he opens his mouth and talks about immigration. Heinrich Himmler was a more decent creep than this Trumpian creep.
Sorry for the hyperbole, but constant lying by Trump associates and appointees regarding Russia is making me a little crazy. Why are so many people associated with this president, his election, his inauguration and the administration of the executive branch? The administration is so obviously compromised and Trump continues to lie and spin obvious truths and facts. Well, we’re soon going to find that out when the final drafts of history are told and read.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren brought out the 25th Amendment thing. Andrew McCabe’s new book also spoke about invoking the 25th Amendment using Rod Rosenstein as an undercover agent for the FBI by wearing a wire to record Trump’s tantrums and ravings that could jeopardize the security of our nation.
Add to that the continuing and growing rumblings about impeachment of this president for high crimes and misdemeanors – like directing illegal campaign payments as hush money to porn stars and Playboy bunnies – and you have a tabloid story of classic proportions.
Any other president would be experiencing a Congressional howl that would drown out every wolf in the world. But Trump is affiliated with the Republican Party, and that changes everything. If it was Obama in this pickle, the Republicans would bring nooses to work.
To successfully invoke the 25th Amendment, a two-thirds majority in the Senate is required. This same requirement pertains to conviction and removal from office after impeachment. The Senate majority is Republican with the increasingly seditious Mitch McConnell controlling every part of the Senate’s agenda.
McConnell is so frightened of losing the majority before he and his Republican colleagues can stack all the federal courts with ultra-conservative, lifetime appointments, that he is refusing to govern and do the job the Constitution requires him, and the rest of the Senate to do. He’s trying to hold out until 2020 and hope for a miracle where Republicans retain the Senate and Trump re-elected.
The worst thing that could happen to Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party is for Trump to be legally taken down for his crimes and misdemeanors.
So, that’s where we are today. If one combines the long list of misdeeds, lies and idiotic behaviors made by this administration since Nov. 9, 2016, half of that rough draft would be in the books. The other half is about to be written.
Before 2019 is complete, the first draft of history for the current disaster in the White House will be completed. The key chapter will be, of course, whether or not there are enough Republican patriots who will put nation before party or their own re-election.
– Denver resident Vern Turner is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer. His latest book, Why Angels Weep: America and Donald Trump, is available through Amazon.