David Corn in Mother Jones on how Trump and Putin basically stole America while we slept through it.
In 1938, Winston Churchill published a collection of his speeches warning that his homeland was not adequately contending with the threat posed by Nazi Germany. The title: “While England Slept.” Eighty years later, a similar observation can be rendered concerning the United States. Much of the political and media elite and the citizenry seem to be sleepwalking past a horrific and fundamental fact: The current president of the United States has helped to cover up a serious attack on the nation. This profound act of betrayal has gone unpunished and, in many quarters, unnoticed, even as it continues. With Donald Trump about to meet Vladimir Putin on Monday—rewarding the thuggish authoritarian Russian leader with a grand summit in Helsinki—this is an appropriate moment to remember that their dark bromance involves a mutual stonewalling of wrongdoing.
Apparently if it doesn’t involve a missing white woman or a kitten down a well, the attention of America cannot be drawn. It’s no surprise that the Russians figured this out; they’ve had that number for a very long time. Far longer than Trump’s been on the scene; even far longer than the time of the Red Scare, which I think they must have come up with on their own just to see how easy it was to provoke us into doing truly horrific things to ourselves.
The goal isn’t, as we were warned in the 1950’s by McCarthy and his commie-hunters, to take over America. This isn’t some kind of “Red Dawn” invasion plan. That’s way too expensive and besides, once they’ve conquered us, they’d have to run the place and that’s just too much trouble. What they want — what any adversary would want — is to get us to be compliant, or at least uninterested, in what they want. I’m pretty sure they don’t want global domination; again, too much responsibility. They just want to be able to do whatever they want without interference from the U.S. or NATO or any other collection of busybodies. And they know they have to be subtle about it, using methods that appear harmless but actually get their mark to play along until they have them locked up. It’s like e-mail scams; it all seems perfectly innocent: click on this link to update your banking information; click here to see free porn; “I’m a widow of a Nigerian general; help me hide my millions$.” Those things work; if they didn’t we still wouldn’t be getting them.
So Trump is probably right when he claims there was NO COLLUSION between the Russians and his campaign. At least none that he was aware of. The Russians, just like the guy betting you $20 for a friendly game of three-card monte, aren’t going to walk up and say, “Hey, I’ll get you elected president.” They already know how to work this pigeon: make him look elsewhere.
So as Trump prepares (yeah, right) for his sit-down with Putin—which is expected to include a private one-on-one with no aides present—much of the nation has lost sight of the big story. With Trump’s repeated cries of “witch hunt” and his lapdog Republicans slavishly concocting false narratives to cover for the boss, they have managed to convince Trump’s tribalized Fox-fed followers there is nothing to see here. And for many others, the scandal is not presented or viewed as the original sin and paramount controversy of the scandal-ridden Trump presidency.
It may be ineffective or counterproductive to shout out each day, “Where’s the outrage?” Yet the public record remains: Trump and Putin have jointly worked to disappear perhaps the greatest crime ever committed against American democracy and their respective complicity in this villainy. And it is crucial for the Republic that they not succeed.
We can’t hit the snooze button on this.