Thursday, May 18, 2017

And Then There Were None

By Bob Ferris

I am probably spending far too much time digging deeply into the jungle of weeds surrounding this whole Trussia (Trump-Russia) situation.  There are many of us in this same boat, but that makes sense as this is really shaping up to be a situation that sinks us or acts to fix some of our substantial flaws.   Now I also have to admit that this whole affair has angered me and made me vindictive.  So when I was asked last night by a friend what I hoped would happen out of this, I answered: something long, drawn-out and bloody (figuratively not literally). 

Donald Trump and Michael Flynn

On my bike ride home home from an event, I started to think about this and for some weird reason an image came to mind.  That image was of the movie Ten Little Indians after the book by Agatha Christie which sadly had a much more racist title when first published in 1939 (1,2).  This image stuck with me down Lincoln, across 15th and past the Fairgrounds.  By the time I was pedaling along Amazon Creek turning onto Polk I was starting to think about which “ten” involved should go down and go down hard.
David Clarke (1)-Michael Cohen (1)-Betsy DeVos (1)-Boris Epshteyn (1)-Michael Flynn (1,2)-JD Gordon (1)-Franklin Graham (1)-Rudy Giuliani (1)-Jared Kushner (1)-Mitch McConnell (1)-Paul Manafort (1)-Robert Mercer (1)-Carter Page (1)-Mike Pence (1)-Erik Prince (1)-Paul Ryan (1)-Wilbur Ross (1)-Jeff Sessions (1)-Roger Stone (1)-Rex Tillerson (1)-Donald J. Trump (1)-Donald Trump Jr. (1,2)-Eric Trump (1)-Ivanka Trump (1)
This required thought.  What screens should be employed in terms of who should potentially be made an example of and who should be soundly slapped on the wrist and shown the door?  My sense is that we need to focus on those who have caused the most harm to our country and our system of government.  This is a huge menu (see above) at this point and we must be cognizant that we can only eat so much and that the meal needs to be balanced to do us the most good.    
Donald Trump and Paul Manafort

Russia and Trump loom in this, but we also now understand that current guidelines and mechanisms are no guarantee of acceptable behavior in the White House if the one in power has no internal governing function or moral compass (1,2,3,4,5).  We also have political donors who think that democracy should be a function of wealth (1,2).  We also have a number of media outlets that believe that public airwaves and bandwidth should be used to mold the public to their desired point of view rather than to inform and enrich society as a whole.  Corporations too have confused their tacit obligation to provide public benefit as an anointment empowering them to determine what is good for the country. And Evangelical Christians have tossed aside their moral outrage and sewn up their nostrils to play in this game because they feel it brings them one step closer to the Christian nation they desire.  

Eric Prince

When I look at the above list of players there are likely some that will meet their fates or be removed from the field via other actions.  Rex Tillerson (AKA Wayne Tracker), for instance, needs to face the music in the Exxon climate change lawsuits (1,2) and that seems an appropriate path.  Ryan and McConnell should pay a price for putting donors and party above our founding principles and the welfare of our country--voted out or deciding to spend more time with their families works.  Mike Pence needs to leave in a similar manner perhaps taking a clue from Jason Chaffetz.  

Carter Page

Ultimately when I pressed myself for "ten" I ended up thinking about them in two tiers.  The top tier individuals, if convicted of something, should experience jail time and fines.  There was nothing casual about their involvement and their actions were shady enough to warrant this treatment. The Second Tier deserve similar fates--probably not jail time for a variety of reasons, but certainly something beyond public shaming.  When the dust clears the Trump brand should be compromised and monies gained since inauguration should be remitted to the US Treasury.  I would love to see the whole Trump family forced to take classes in business ethics but I suspect that would be a lot like trying to write on water.  

Jeff Sessions

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III should be judged by his peers and asked about his involvement in the Comey's firing and the meaning term recusal (1). He should also be questioned about his failure to disclose his contact with the Russians before his former colleagues in the Senate (1).   Robert Mercer because of the Steve Bannon, Kellyanne Conway and Breitbart connection bears some deep responsibility here for bringing this ugliness to our nation seat of government.  That is bad enough but it becomes much worse if there is also a Russian connection.  At the very least, that tree needs to be shaken thoroughly and then shaken again.  

Robert Mercer
The Evangelical Christian aspect of this is tricky.  Freedom of Religion is an incredibly important founding principle of this country which is expressly compromised by those seeking to make this a Christian Nation.  There is no simple solution here but something must be done such as remove IRS non-profit status or hold hearings on inappropriate religious electioneering.   We as a country need to send a clear message that we value religious freedom but will oppose those who would make us a Theocracy.

First Tier Candidates:

1. Michael Flynn
2. Paul Manafort
3. Roger Stone
4. Eric Prince
5. Carter Page

Second Tier Candidates:

6. Someone Named Trump (I am agnostic as to who.)
7. Jeff Sessions
8. Robert Mercer or Similar Super-donor
9. Franklin Graham or Jerry Falwell Jr. 
10. ?

Those who have read down to here will notice that I left number 10 blank. That is an invitation for discussion.  I am interested in what others think about who should be on this list and who should not.  This must be an active discussion and it should be bi-partisan. Have at it.

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