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Jul 20 2018

The Russian Connection: Helsinki Deuxième Partie

Pardon my French but Donald Trump got such a thrill out of his two hour private meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he has invited Vlad to visit the Fall for a repeat performance. Our buddy Charlie Pierce and I had the same nightmarish thought, what if this coincides with Trump’s military parade? Wouldn’t that be just the show? Also like Uncle Charlie, I have the same sick feeling in the pit of my stomach that our democratic institutions in this country are being threatened by a narcissistic, misogynist waste of human protoplasm.

Here is what else Charlie had to say about Helsinki Part Two:

If I didn’t know that there is a murder of crows sitting upon the capitol these days, I might even applaud the move as an immortal masterpiece of pure trolling. If the threat to democratic institutions weren’t so imminent, I’d buy a beach chair and a cooler full of coldies, sit back, and watch the show.

For ten days or so, ever since the Helsinki in a Handbasket press conference, the president* has seemed to go out of his way to prove himself at the very least a useful device in an autocrat’s toolbox. He has spent a couple of days flopping around like a bass in a boat, trying to explain that “would” meant “wouldn’t,” and that he wasn’t really considering shipping a former ambassador to Russia for questioning.

Evidence has piled up that his presidential campaign, and his subsequent administration*, may have functioned primarily as laundromat for ill-gotten currencies of many lands. Evidence has emerged that much of conservative Republican politics may have served to fluff and fold the proceeds of the Volga Bagmen. The president*’s one-time campaign manager is about to begin the first of what may be a prolonged miniseries of trials, most of them centering on work he did in what we used to call The Former Soviet Union. [..]

It was going to be an eventful autumn anyway. The future of the Supreme Court for the next 30-odd years is going to be hanging fire as the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh comes before the Senate. Robert Mueller is due to produce his report. And we will be winding into the homestretch of one of the most crucial midterm elections most of us have ever experienced. Now, with all of that going on, the president* has presumed to invite his favorite thuggish kleptocrat to town. There will be bands and bunting. There will be a state dinner to which many influential Republicans, and members of Congress, many of whom will be running for re-election at the time, will be invited. I predict a staggering number of unbreakable tonsorial appointments. The announcement caught the Director of National Intelligence flatfooted on live television. This would be delicious if the whole thing weren’t so poisonous.  [..]

They have something on him. Almost everyone is convinced of that now. And, at least in the fog of the president*’s head, what they have on him is sufficiently lethal for him to act like an autocrat’s apprentice all over the world. [..]

The squirming already has begun. Mitch McConnell huffed and puffed and pretended he still has dignity on which to stand while his colleagues all try to cram themselves behind the drapes of the caucus room at the same time. [..]

The rest of us have to come to grips with the fact that there is no real mystery any more. The president* of the United States is a reckless vandal who is in thrall to a man whose only real goal in life is to loot his own failing country and hobble this one. Putin is a brutal con-man who has found a transparently bad one that he can play like a cheap violin. How the president* got into this situation almost seems irrelevant at this point; there well may be a video of some icky water-sports in a Moscow hotel, but I still think it’s all about money that Russians needed to clean, and that the president* needed to keep his Potemkin empire afloat. In that context, this latest, scarcely believable plot twist has a certain mad logic to it. In for a dime, in for a ruble.

This charade of a parade and cozying up to his handler strikes me as a another attempt at distracting attention from the real issues this country is facing all due to Trump’s economic, domestic and foreign policies.

It’s already been a long, hot Summer with everyone wondering just how far Trump will go with these outrageous acts and just how much longer will the Republicans cover for him. From the predictions of the Fall midterm elections, the American people may be at the end of the line. Democrats need to win back congress to put the brakes on this egomaniac pretending to be president.