let’s go with the deplorables, i say

SOS — Pindostan Needs Our Help, Time to Get to Work
Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well (Blog), May 12 2017

We are tearing ourselves apart. If we do not stop we will destroy our nation. You wanted a crisis? You got one. A significant number of Pindosis believe that Russia changed the course of our last presidential election. Some/Many believe Trump would not be president had it not been for Russia. Some believe Trump himself is under the control of Vladimir Putin, either because Trump accepted cash payments, owes Putin for the electoral victory quid pro quo, is deeply in debt to someone in Russia, and/or is the subject of blackmail over a golden showers video. Meanwhile, many Pindos believe that members of Trump’s administration are basically in the same pot, run as one would run spies in a Cold War thriller. Other Pindosis are convinced in turns that Trump is mentally ill and/or that his actions as president are designed solely around furthering his own business interests. No detail is too small, no action too insignificant to promote a new conspiracy theory. Things have gotten to the point where otherwise reasonable and intelligent people imagine that a foreign diplomat staying a night or two at a Trump hotel as opposed to a Hyatt or Hilton, sways policy over a couple of hundred bucks. And keep in mind most of what Pindosis “believe” about this election and Russia is based on little to no evidence, just rumors and leaks. All of this is, in many minds, also leading us without fail towards nuclear war, maybe with China, maybe Russia, maybe North Korea. Trump, they believe, will literally destroy the world, and we are thus literally living in The End of Days. People believe that Trump must be removed from office as a matter of both national survival and personal life or death. This has led to a large number of Pindos hoping and wishing that something terrible will happen. Maybe an Emoluments Clause-based impeachment. Maybe a military coup. Perhaps evocation of the 25th Amendment, where Mike Pence and the Cabinet conduct their own petit coup. Or jail: some investigation will lead to charges of treason and he’s off to Supermax. Or maybe someone in The Resistance will just shoot the Cheeto bastard.

People, calm down. Just calm down. Donald Trump is president. I know you hate him! I really get that, especially all you 25 to 45-year-old Ivy League educated east coast media people. Trump probably hates you too. But calm down. This isn’t about you. What once were conspiracy theories barely worthy of a B movie script are now discussed as fact by serious academics and writers. Journalistic standards that once put a high price on building a story out of unnamed sources are thrown out the window. Declaiming the rough edges of politics as constitutional crises, and running op-eds every weekday announcing democracy is over or the Republic is in peril, none of that helps. Encouraging people to wish for, hope for, or dream of a real crisis, which is what a first-ever change of leadership via impeachment would be, is very dangerous. It is unclear how a Pindostan as well-armed and as divided culturally as we are now would handle that. It is not a test we would want to take. So here’s a better way. Some part of the government has been looking into what Russia did or did not do for over a year. Pindostan boasts of the most incredible electronic dragnet in human history: collect it all, says the NSA. If there are real examples of real collusion in our election, as opposed to rumors, greedy idiots lapping up consultant fees, and reams of unnamed sources leaking, it is time to lance the boil and let our nation deal with it. Chips fall where they may. But dragging this out, allowing anyone in Faschingstein with the phone number of a journalist to get a story, however incredible or nonsensical, on the front pages, has to stop. See, we have real things to fix in Pindostan. Our health care system is a mess. Income inequality and racial issues are tearing us apart. We are at war, seemingly indefinitely, across the globe. We need help. Hillary lost. She is no longer on the game board. Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren, or whoever, will get a chance, but not for four more years. You cannot impeach a president for incompetence or stupidity. There is no do-over for the 2016 election. There is just us now. Trump is president and if for some reason during the next four years not him, then Mike Pence. That’s what we’ve got to work with, no more and no less. Please let one of them get to work.

The War on the First Amendment Didn’t Start Last Week
Peter Van Buren, We Meant Well (Blog), May 11 2017

For those who woke a week ago to discover that the First Amendment is under attack, I lost my job at the Obama/Clinton State Dept in 2012 for writing We Meant Well, a book the government did not like, and I needed the help of lawyer Jesselyn Radack and the ACLU to push back the threat of jail. My book was critical of actions in Iraq under both the Obama and Bush 43 administrations. One helped protect the other. Braver people than me, like Thomas Drake, Morris Davis and Robert MacLean, risked imprisonment and lost their government jobs for talking to the press about government crimes and malfeasance. John Kiriakou, Chelsea Manning and Jeff Sterling went to jail for speaking to or informing the press. The Obama administration tried to prosecute reporters from Fox and the NYT for stories on government wrongdoing. Ray Maxwell at the State Dept went public with information about Clinton’s email malfeasance before you had even heard of her private server. The media called him a liar, an opportunist and a political hack, and he was pressed into retirement. Indeed, Obama prosecuted more federal whistle-blowers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined, including Nixon, Reagan and Bush 43. The Obama administration also set a record (77%) for redacting government files or denying access to them in FY 2014 under the FoIA. More than any previous administration, Obama took longer to turn over files, said more often it could not locate documents, and refused a record number of times to turn over time-sensitive files quickly, requiring years-long legal actions to be brought to force the government’s hand. In the case of Hillary Clinton, files considered “unclassified” in one context were redacted in whole in another. Though the backlog of unanswered requests grew by 55%, the administration cut the number of full-time FoIA employees by 7.5%. Despite the critical nature of the documents to the election, the State Dept was allowed to do its FoIA screening of the Clinton emails largely with an ad hoc crew of retirees. The impact on journalists and the right of the people to know was immeasurable. So spare me. The war on our freedoms was well under way before last week. Where the hell were you and your safety pins then?

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