Too much effort on the Russian scandal and not enough on policy; a free press is more important than a perfect one …

July 13, 2017

Remember, it took a year or more to bring Nixon down, so it is not surprising that Trump is still in office. Actually it seems to me that barring some clear-cut evidence of major wrongdoing that cannot be argued Trump can last the term. And as outlandish as Trump is he might well win a second term if the Democrats cannot find someone who can excite their own base and make them turn out.

And as bad a Trump is (certainly the worst political disaster in my lifetime — I mean he makes me miss Nixon), unless he just becomes an impediment to the Republican agenda or too much of a public liability I would think he remains safe. Things can change, and overnight.

The Democrats may be wasting their energy going after Trump on the Russia controversy. I mean the investigation should continue, but it should be realized the Russia thing that has taken over the news has served as a near smoke screen hiding what is really going on — the wholesale attack on environmental rules, rules to protect laborers, and of course the all-out attack on decent health care for all Americans.

Outnumbered as they presently are, the Democrats need to convince voters they have a better way. I mean they are losing ground, failing to win in recent special elections. They better improve for the off-year elections in 2018 or it will likely be eight years of Trump.

And let me just say something about Trump’s continual attack on what we call “the press”. The press is not sacrosanct. Or maybe I should say it is not beyond reproach, but it is vital to our freedom. I hope that does not sound like a contradiction.

Those who would take away our freedom, dictators, fear the free flow of information and ideas. In authoritarian regimes they either have their own official press or they only allow a private press to operate if it carries the government line or at least does not stray too far from it.

Sometimes it is not the governments or just the governments, sometimes extra-governmental forces intimidate or physically attack those who don’t tow their line or who expose corruption. This is the case in Mexico. Journalists there are routinely murdered.

I take it that real Trump supporters — as opposed to those who just put up with him because they at least hope he will carry their agenda — don’t much care for a free press if that free press is critical of their man. And they go along with the line that the press lacks credibility and publishes fake news. Actually that is what the press does under authoritarian regimes — publishes fake news — we used to call that propaganda.

But here is how I look at it. To me, even though I prefer a responsible and credible press, I am more concerned that there be a free and uninhibited press. I am intelligent and well read enough to sort through the bullshit, but only because there are no restrictions on my sources.

My question is: would those who prefer a docile press rather just get their news from government handouts from the Trump administration or Fox News?

If you buy a car, do you just take the salesman’s word for everything? People who have a vested interest in the outcome (making the sale on a car or public policy) have a habit of leaving problems out and using sales puffery (also known as lying).

Again, the press is not beyond exaggeration and inaccuracy and partisanship. One just has to hope that there are reliable sources out there and enough to where one can compare reports and judge credibility.

(And when I write about “the press” I am referring to authentic news organizations, as opposed to bogus ones. And “authentic” does not refer directly to quality. You can be not worth a crap and still be authentic.)

From what I am reading and hearing, legal experts seem to differ on whether there have been any actual crimes committed by Trump or his administration and campaign before it in dealing with Russia.

It is becoming clear from the delayed admission of Trump’s own son that the Trump campaign at least tried to work closely with the Russians in trying to push the Trump candidacy, despite its continued denials. Emails indicate that the Russians wanted Trump to win. And he of course did.

Oh, and Trump Jr. only admitted meeting with a Russian agent (a lawyer but I would say an agent because this lawyer apparently has Kremlin connections) after he was forced to by a story in the New York Times — the free press at work. Forcing the truth.

Whether Trump won the presidency with the help of the Russians or without it they have to be happy with the outcome. The U.S. image on the world stage has been tarnished and the influence of the U.S. on the world stage has been severely degraded.

I can only hope the American people awake from their slumber and apply the pressure that can lead to a restoration of our honor. Strangely enough, it is ultimately in our hands.