Saturday, February 22, 2020

Trump Unleashed: We Should be Deeply Afraid

The Nazi regime did not take control in Germany and turn that nation into a dictatorship overnight. Rather, there was a slow but steady destruction of the free press, including allegations of "fake news" and that the press was the enemy of the people, and the elimination of honorable individuals from government when they refused to parrot Nazi lies or throw away their sense of morality. Meanwhile, a majority of Germans were indifferent to what was happening around them or, worse yet, allowed prejudice and bigotry to convince them in the short term to ignore where Hitler and his regime were taking the country.  It is terrifying to behold, but we are seeing something similar as Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, moves to make the Department of Justice his own weapon against those who do do swear total loyalty and seeks to remake America's intelligence agencies into a tool to further his personal interests over those of the nation.  Trump seemingly believes that a saying of Louis IV - L'état, c'est moi" (I am the nation) - applies to him.  A column in the Washington Post by the now retired admiral who oversaw the 2011 Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan that killed Osama bin Laden sounds the alarm.  Here are excerpts:
Edmund Burke, the Irish statesman and philosopher, once said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Over the course of the past three years, I have watched good men and women, friends of mine, come and go in the Trump administration — all trying to do something — all trying to do their best. Jim Mattis, John Kelly, H.R. McMaster, Sue Gordon, Dan Coats and, now, Joe Maguire, who until this week was the acting director of national intelligence.
I have known Joe for more than 40 years. There is no better officer, no better man and no greater patriot. He served for 36 years as a Navy SEAL. In 2004, he was promoted to the rank of rear admiral and was chosen to command all of Naval Special Warfare, including the SEALs. Those were dark days for the SEALs. Our combat losses from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were the highest in our history, and Joe and his wife, Kathy, attended every SEAL funeral, providing comfort and solace to the families of the fallen.
In 2018, Joe was asked to be the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, a job he knew well from his last assignment as a vice admiral. He accepted, but within months of his arrival came the announcement of Coats’s departure as director of national intelligence. Maguire didn’t seek to fill the job; he was asked to do it by the president. At first he declined, suggesting that Sue Gordon, Coats’s deputy, would be better suited for the job.
But the president chose Maguire. And, like most of these good men and women, he came in with the intent to do his very best, to follow the rules, to follow the law and to follow what was morally right. Within a few weeks of taking the assignment, he found himself embroiled in the Ukraine whistleblower case. Joe told the White House that, if asked, he would testify, and he would tell the truth. He did. In short order, he earned the respect of the entire intelligence community. They knew a good man was at the helm. A man they could count on, a man who would back them, a man whose integrity was more important than his future employment.
But, of course, in this administration, good men and women don’t last long. Joe was dismissed for doing his job: overseeing the dissemination of intelligence to elected officials who needed that information to do their jobs.
As Americans, we should be frightened — deeply afraid for the future of the nation. When good men and women can’t speak the truth, when facts are inconvenient, when integrity and character no longer matter, when presidential ego and self-preservation are more important than national security — then there is nothing left to stop the triumph of evil.

This frightening situation is where America finds itself.  Trump is unleashed, he is threatening John Bolton if he speaks the truth in his new book, and is poised to silence anyone who speaks the truth or puts the nation first. 

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