As Trump-aligned Republicans continue to put politics and a myth of economic recovery over protecting human lives, they openly fan the flames of scandal using warped historical logic to defend their point of view. But this goes along with the general economic and rhetorical philosophy of Trumpism which radically zigzags from from far right to far left positions never stopping at a weigh station in the middle.
Despite the mounting death toll from COVID-19, America’s most-watched news network, FOX News has spent most of its air in the last week discussing Michael Flynn, the Department of Justice, Russia and President Obama. What’s tens of thousands more deaths of our neighbors, friends and loved ones at this point, right Mr. Murodch? Let’s move on to the truly important stuff!
Democrats Russia obsession again misses the mark – Trump’s malfeasance is brazen and open. And usually has NOTHING to do with Russia.
The Democratic establishment’s unhealthy obsession with all things Russia or Putin has bit them in the rear end yet again, however what FOX News and the Trump GOP don’t seem to realize is championing Flynn in the manner they are will get them in deeper trouble, and this time should stick.
But by making Russia the issue and Putin the bogeyman, the Democrats have again sloppily given FOX News and Trump a runway to take off from. Trump’s willingness to allow any foreign power with an aggressive strongman to manipulate his policies aren’t talked about enough by Democrats – instead they make it seem Putin has a special hold on Trump. He doesn’t, if anything he has less influence on Trump than several other dictators including China’s Premier Xi. But we will save that for another time.
Trump’s COVID-19 failings and diversionary narratives
On Monday, in between tweet rants about “Obamagate,” the new alt-right name for the Flynn scandal, President Trump declared “victory” on testing while the US in reality lags behind every western nation in testing (per capita) save France and the UK who are dealing currently with their own horrific handling of this pandemic. Also most of the US testing came late on, making it quite frankly less effective in prevention.
He ended this bizarre “victory” press conference refusing to take questions from CNN’s Kaitlin Collins and walking away from the podium once he realized whom he had called on (Collins was wearing a mask and my theory is he thought she was some random reporter, maybe even that strange OANN one, and once he saw it was her, he stormed out maybe never to hold another news conference).
Trump’s victory declaration which was quickly debunked by public health experts, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and the international media proved a short diversion in his maniacal obsession with this thing he calls “Obamagate” over the last week. The reality is reopening is quickly backfiring with no “test and trace” mechanism in place and the quick escalation of cases in places like Texas, Georgia and yes parts of Florida since reopening. So, Trump and FOX News led by the likes of Brit Hume and Mollie Hemingway are quickly trying to manufacture a narrative that places this #Obamagate”scandal” among the biggest in US history to change the subject from continued failure to contain a life-and-death pandemic.
Debunking #Obamagate – leave it to the brilliant Bulwark
To debunk this entire crazy Obamagate nonsense, I turn to the incredibly gifted Tim Miller – Jeb Bush’s former communications director who like his neoconservative or #NeverTrump Republican (or maybe they are all former Republicans now?) colleagues have been more on the mark about Trump than anyone. Miller, like David Frum, Bill Kristol, Mona Charon, Charlie Sykes, Amanda Carpenter and so many others have actually used factual and intellectual arguments to discredit Trump, not the emotionally-charged racial or Russia-tinged ones the Democratic establishment continues to misfire on. (I recommend everyone read, subscribe and even contribute if you can to the Bulwark – if you’ve been consumed by whiny Democratic talking points on Trump, Miller, Sykes, Kristol and their colleagues will expose you to a whole new world of intellectualism and pointed critiques of the President and his minions.)
Flynn an alt-right “cause” like Solyndra
It is important before I continue with this discussion, to acknowledge, defending Michael Flynn has been a pet cause of Trump right over the last three years. Something like the new Solyndra or Benghazi. Once again, like in those cases, FOX News proved the driver. FOX talking heads are viewed on the anti-intellectual right as truth-tellers of religious cult ilk and therefore like those anti-Obama efforts, Flynn became a rallying cry for many of those don’t like to think for themselves.
The “exoneration” of Michael Flynn was finally carried out by Attorney General Barr. Once again the Democratic establishment, focused on Russia and fanning the flames of a new Cold War missed the mark as they so often have the last three years. Yet the evidence on Flynn is clear. He was a foreign agent whose influence has changed American foreign policy.
Obama responsibly handed Trump information
Obama’s real “crime” was warning the incoming Trump administration of Flynn’s danger. Peaceful transitions of power are a hallmark of American democracy. The outgoing George W. Bush Administration for example warned Obama’s incoming team about the danger of Pandemics, since President Bush was particularly obsessive about the 1918 influenza outbreak and making sure it never happened in the US again. Accordingly, Obama continued Bush’s policies, later dismantled by Trump, leading directly to the lack of preparedness for this current pandemic.
So why did Obama’s team warn Trump’s about Flynn? It wasn’t just Russia, though post-Obama Democrats led by defeated Hillary Clinton campaign operatives make Putin the bogeyman in all that happens on the planet. It was also about Turkey, which had by 2016 emerged as a rogue force, undermining NATO unity as well as fanning the flames of religious-driven dissent in the Muslim world. Turkey has becoming increasingly illiberal and anti-western in recent years, something the Obama Administration which maintained a strong relationship with our NATO allies was particularly concerned about. Therefore it was in Turkey’s interest to cultivate Donald Trump – not only to infiltrate his campaign but schmooze him once in office.
Trump Erdoğan and Flynn
President Trump’s policy toward Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s strongman have been one of complete fealty and subservience. Trump stood by as Erdoğan’s goons attacked protesters on American soil, an act that could be interpreted as a violation of US sovereignty.
In official communications Trump has called himself a “big fan” of Erdoğan.
At last year’s NATO summit, Trump broke from the pack of other leaders to hold a private, non-scheduled meeting with Erdoğan. The purpose seemed clear- Trump who had an antagonistic relationship with the liberal institutions of Western Europe was showing his solidarity with the Turkish strongman. In fact some in Europe believe the recent bullying of the west coming from Turkey has been sanctioned by Trump. At the very least he condones it.
What ties this all together – Michael Flynn.
Flynn was paid by Turkey to represent IT’S INTERESTS with Presidential Candidate Trump – a possible form of collusion but more importantly something that has influenced Trump’s policies since taking office. Of interest to Floridians, Ballard Partners who are particularly close to this White House and Greenberg Traurig have represented Turkish interests in Washington during some point in the Trump years – both are Florida-based entities.
All this leads us back to a simple conclusion. Flynn has impacted US policy for the worse. He was a paid foreign agent. The Democrats obsession with Russia has allowed them to miss the mark on his damage. And Flynn’s scandal now is being used as a way to divert attention from the disastrous handling of a pandemic and ill-conceived reopening of America. What a story!