Comrades United: How The U.S. Sold Itself To Foreign Interests

On Thursday, January 18, 2018, The House Intelligence Committee released seven hours of testimony recounting the interview with Glenn Simpson of FusionGPS. The Republican-controlled committee had shown little interest in releasing the testimony until their hand was forced by a release of ten hours of Senate Judiciary Committee testimony by Diane Feinstein, against the wishes of Republican Chairman, Chuck Grassley.

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Possibly lost in the House testimony which discussed Trump ties to both the Italian and Russian mobs and multiple inferences of money laundering, was the mention of Russia infiltrating the NRA and possibly funneling millions of dark money (donors undisclosed) to support Donald Trump’s bid for election. It’s true that the NRA spent three times as much ($30 Million) in support of Trump than it did for Mitt Romney four years earlier. What we don’t know is how much of that money came from Russia?

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This is all possible because the Supreme Court upheld Citizens United, which says that the free speech clause of the First Amendment allows for unlimited political contributions from nonprofit corporations, for-profit corporations, unions, and other associations for “independent expenditures for communications.” It is the law that equates corporations with people and allows for anonymous corporate donations.

While illegal for foreign nations to contribute to American elections, apparently the Russians didn’t care, the NRA didn’t care, and there is little reason to suggest that Congress will care, as all Republicans and many Democrats are beholden to the NRA for their own campaign financing.

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Also deep in the transcript of the interview, is that in addition to the NRA, Russia is using multiple outlets in its attempts to influence American elections. There is no solution which does not involve the United States Congress, passing a bill which replaces Citizens United and takes dark money out of politics. It would be nice if every member that received donations from the NRA and any other organization filtering Russian money, donated a like amount to a charitable cause that benefits this country, not another.

The NRA has some cleaning house to do, we’ll see how willing they are to address their infiltration and what actions if any they take? The issue is bigger than that, however. The issue is whether we as a country are willing to cede our independence to Russia, or China, the Koch brothers and I’ll throw in George Soros to make my Republican friends happy. What is the justification for having any dark money in our election process? I can think of none.

If You Think Being President Ages You… Try Being In Jail

It’s been well documented that being President of the United States rapidly ages the office holder. The never-ending responsibility, the pressure, loss of sleep. None have escaped the toll that four or eight years as President takes on a person. Barack Obama may have cracked a bit less than his predecessors but the evidence is still clear.

There’s another kind of episode that will take a toll, especially for one ill-suited for the experience. Going to jail. Donald Trump wouldn’t do well in jail. When you realize he thinks of the White House as, “a dump.” He can’t possibly feel good about any of our Federal Prisons. The good news is that it will cost us less to protect him there than at Trump Tower, Mar-a-Lago, or any of his other estates.

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We know from watching celebrities that have preceded him, he’ll be unable to use his orange dye and make-up which allows him to pass for 70 now, (he’s 71). On the positive side for Donald, he’ll probably lose weight by being placed on a strict diet although I don’t picture him making use of the exercise area in “the yard.”

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No U.S. President has ever gone to jail before. There is the precedent of Ford pardoning Nixon to prevent that possibility, “for the good of the nation.” If Trump is found to have conspired with an enemy power to influence our elections? If he’s found to have willfully laundered money from the Russian mob? An example must be set. He must go to prison!

The bright side is he’ll likely be near his son and many of his loyal acolytes. When George Papadopoulos was charged with having lied to the FBI it must have sent shivers down the spines (can the spineless have spines?) of Donald, Jr., Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, and others who we know have lied to the FBI. Maybe it will be a big reunion of the campaign team, Trump can greet them, “Hey, we’re getting the old gang back together!” None of them will age well.

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