BIZARRO WORLD + A POEM

I feel like we are living in kind of a backward, topsy-turvy bizarro world. Right now Trump and many members of his administration as well as Republican congressional leaders often say or do just the opposite of what you would think they would do or say.

For example, President Trump was interviewed by Bill O’Reilly before the Super Bowl. During the interview he said he “respects” Putin. When O’Reilly pushed him and stated that Putin is a “killer,” instead of uttering a single word against Putin, Trump, in a voice reminiscent of a character from the Sopranos, responded to O’Reilly saying, “We’ve got a lot of killers. Boy, you think our country’s so innocent? You think our country’s so innocent?”

Several commentators spoke of the President’s comments as the most un-American statement ever uttered by an American President. Republican senators and congressman, normally so vigorously anti-Russian, instead are largely silent to Trump’s remarks. They did, however, very bravely, manage to officially rebuke Sen. Elizabeth Warren for daring to quote Coretta Scott King in a debate on the Senate floor.

In one of my previous Blogs, I mentioned that Trump’s National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn, had spoken to the Russian Ambassador to the U.S. the day Obama announced sanctions against Russia for tampering in our presidential election. Flynn denied that their discussion had any connection to the sanctions. Starting last week, the Washington Post and other news organizations quoted multiple sources that indicated Flynn’s statement was not accurate and that he had indeed spoken to Russia about the sanctions. To do so is likely against the law and certainly served to undermine the position of the Obama administration. In addition to the call(s) on the day the sanctions were announced, there were also contacts between Flynn and other Trump campaign staffers with Russians before the date of the election.

Finally, last night, Monday, February 13, Flynn resigned. As of today at noon, Tuesday February 14, Trump has yet to comment on the situation. Not only that, but his administration (and presumably he) were made aware of the specifics of Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador in late January. No action was taken until after the story broke.

Since then, while using his Twitter account, Trump has managed to find the time to denounce Nordstrom, criticized our judicial system several times, attacked the New York Times and CNN multiple times, bad mouthed Mark Cuban and blasted John McCain, etc. That’s excellent time management (but then, he is the best at everything)! So in this world right now, it appears that Putin is okay, but Nordstrom and our judiciary are bad and Senator McCain and Senator Warren just need to shut up.

Today Trump is tweeting about leaks, but nothing about what was done by Flynn.

Vice-President Mike Pence had been asked about the phone calls between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador before the inauguration. At that time, Pence stated unequivocally that, “They did not discuss anything having to do with the United States’ decision to expel diplomats or impose censure against Russia.” (The sanctions imposed by the Obama administration). He also indicated that there had been no contact between members of Trump’s campaign team and Russia. He went on to state that to suggest otherwise, “is to give credence to some of these bizarre rumors that have swirled around the candidacy.”

Since his statements were proven wrong, does that mean he will now “give credence” to the “bizarre rumors?” Pence has been quiet on this matter so far.

Can you imagine how the Republicans would have reacted if any of this had occurred when Obama was president or if Hillary or even Bernie were elected? The call for investigations or even impeachment and the moral outrage would be absolutely unrelenting. It would make the endless Benghazi hearings look like small potatoes. Instead, after 3 1/2 weeks of sometimes crazy and outrageous comments, there are few calls of condemnation. Most of what comes out of the White House is met by silence from the Republican congressional leadership. The contrast with how they would have reacted if this same set of circumstances had occurred when Obama was in the White House is, to say the least, striking.

The day after Flynn spoke to the Russian Ambassador, Putin announced that he would not retaliate for the sanctions Obama imposed on Russia. To this, Trump responded with the following tweets:

Pence spoke of the contacts Flynn had with Russia as giving credence to bizarre rumors. It’s hard to know about all the bizarre rumors, but it is very, very odd that Flynn had the conversations he had and then the very next day Trump tweeted what he did. A coincidence? Maybe. — Maybe, but Trump is so consistently uniform in his praise of Russia and Putin and yet vilifies so many others. It defies logic. It makes no sense to me. Also, why would anyone from the Trump campaign team ever need to contact Russia at any point during the campaign? That really makes no sense to me.

With all of the previous comments Trump has made about Russia, along with this latest information on Flynn and the Russia contacts during the campaign, it feels like we should be asking a couple questions that were asked over 40 years ago:

“What did the President know? When did he know it?”

We often hear that the Republican leadership view their being in control of the Senate & House as well as having a Republican in the White House as their big opportunity to get into law what they want done. Of course, that’s true and does explain much of their self serving reluctance to go after Trump. However, it does not excuse them from putting the country first and from doing the right thing.

A very few Republican senators and congressman have spoken out actively and vigorously against Trump, especially on specific issues. Most notably among them that I am aware of are John McCain, Lyndsey Graham and Ben Sasse. Mostly Republican legislators are silent. Where are the members of the Republican leadership willing to stand up to Trump? — There are few candidates for an updated version of “Profiles In Courage” among that group.

Still, we shouldn’t be too hard on the Republican leadership. After all, as said earlier, they did manage, very bravely, to officially rebuke Sen. Elizabeth Warren for daring to quote Coretta Scott King in a debate on the Senate floor. Their patriotism and heroism is a thing to behold.

John Gahan — February14, 2017

THE LOUSE IN THE HOUSE

It was a gloomy, wet day

No one felt much like playing

When the big orange buffoon

Started up with his braying.

I’m tremendous, important,

I know lots of words.

Everyone says so,

Haven’t you heard?

Blame everyone else for

All your mistakes

Make up your own “facts”

That’s all that it takes.

Ramp up the anger,

Danger is near.

They’re out to get us,

That’s what I hear.

Only I can save

What you hold most dear.

It’s the hordes at our gates

That you should all fear.

Putin’s a great guy.

He’s the one to admire.

If the press tells you different,

It’s because they’re all liars.

We can be feared like Russia,

Bully others we meet.

Who needs friends abroad?

I’ll make deals with a tweet.

Orange is the new black,

Alt Right’s the new Klan.

Liberty’s taking a beating

It no longer feels like our land.

We may have to acknowledge

The Dunce, in his tower of gold.

But we don’t have to swallow

All the lies we’ve been told.

We all once came from

Other far away lands

We don’t hide behind walls tho,

We reach out a hand.

Tho the times are quite bleak,

With a leader that’s raving.

Democracy’s at stake

And that is surely worth saving.

Stand up for those threatened,

Speak out for what’s right.

Don’t let a bully

Quench liberty’s light.

Trump’s promises are empty,

They ring false and hollow.

He’s a tin pot tyrant

No true patriot should follow.

Clare Gahan — February 2017