Why We’re Watching

Reading time – 3:36; Viewing time – 4:44  .  . .

The Watergate story is an epic one of a petty political crime, dogged investigation, political intrigue, Congressional courage and cowardice and a foolish obstruction of justice that brought down a paranoid president and sent his underlings to prison. It threatened the stability of our country as few things have and the impeachment hearings themselves were riveting political theater. Nothing since then has captured our national attention in that way. Until now.

James Comey, the fired former FBI Director, former Assistant Attorney General and consistent non-supplicant to President Trump will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee tomorrow. He will be free to speak about anything that isn’t classified or part of an ongoing investigation, so we are expecting him to refute Trump’s claims about Comey’s alleged comments to the president over whether Trump was under investigation in connection with Russian hacking. Further, we’ll be looking for Comey’s testimony pertaining to implications of obstruction of justice by this president. We are poised to watch like we haven’t been since 1974, because this, too, is nothing if not riveting political theater.

But all of that matters far more than the value of the entertainment spectacle, because:

  1. This president has offended our dearest and longest term allies, including Canada, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, France, and more, isolating and weakening those countries and our own. Who do you suppose will benefit from the erosion of our strength? It might be Russia.
  2. This president has undermined NATO, our strongest military alliance and bulwark against an aggressive Russia. I reiterate the question about who benefits from the erosion of our strength.
  3. This president has lauded despicable dictators and political strongmen in the Philippines, Turkey, China, the Ukraine, Saudi Arabia, the Palestinian territories, and, of course, Russia.
  4. This president has announced the U.S. withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord, leaving world leadership of this entire issue to China and ensuring higher energy prices which will benefit Russia.
  5. This president has rallied middle east leaders against Qatar, where we have our largest military presence in the region, threatening our ability to keep our forces there, which would benefit Iran and, of course, Russia.
  6. This president began investigating the removal of Obama era sanctions against Russia over its invasion of the Ukraine and the Crimea and for meddling in our election, this even before this president took office. The sanctions removal Trump sought would be without conditions or anything favoring the U.S. and benefiting only Russia.
  7. This president has named as heads of departments of government people who are expressly opposed to even the existence of the departments they lead and they have already begun neutering their organizations and endangering America and Americans.
  8. This president has refused to staff the departments of the executive branch of government so that we are woefully unprepared to ensure our government will work. Over 1,000 positions remain unfilled.

In his less than 140 days in office this president has consistently acted to strengthen Russia’s influence. At the same time, this president has done much to weaken the United States, seemingly in line with the desires of his chief strategist Stephen Bannon, who is a self-described Leninist and wants, ”  .  .  .  to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Trump’s motives are suspect in the extreme.

The Comey testimony and that of our intelligence officials are more than riveting political theater; they are critical to the safety and security of America. That’s why we’re watching.

Finally, you made it this far, so give yourself a treat by watching this video of artist Joe Everson as he paints and sings the National Anthem at a Toledo Walleye hockey game last October. This, I promise, will give you goose bumps.

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Ed. note: There is much in America that needs fixing and we are on a path to continually fail to make things better. It is my goal to make a difference – perhaps to be a catalyst for things to get better. That is the reason for these posts. To accomplish the goal requires reaching many thousands of people and a robust dialogue.

YOUR ACTION STEPS: Offer your comments below and pass this along to three people, encouraging them to subscribe and engage.  Thanks!  JA

 

Copyright 2017 by Jack Altschuler
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5 Responses to Why We’re Watching
  1. Joni Lindgren Reply

    9) This president has also weakened our country by signing an Executive Order threatening 30 national monuments including the Sequoia trees in California with drilling, mining and logging…..meaning, you could see, hear and smell coal mines and oil wells….signaling yet another giveaway to big oil AND carving up this beautiful country into as many corporate giveaways.

    He is weakening the protections on the national monuments and national parks because he intends to privatize these places…..selling to the highest bidders and those bidders could be other wealthy individuals in foreign countries, big oil or wealthy investors!!

    Call your legislators and tell them to keep their hands off the national monuments, national parks and public lands!

    I don’t know about you, but all my vacations when I was a kid was to our national monuments and national parks!! When we had our own two sons and they were old enough, we headed to the Smokey Mountains, Rocky Mountains, Yellowstone National Park, Olympic National Park outside of Seattle, and the Grand Canyon to name a few. Our best memories in life were those vacations where we walked trails and looked for deer or bear, we went on hikes with a park ranger and learned about the ecology of each area, we drove our car through the giant Sequoia trees in Sequoia National Park and and learned about Old Faithful and that Yellowstone is just one huge volcanic cauldron!! You don’t make memories like that if you stay in your own hometown.
    As far as I’m concerned, the U.S. will not be as beautiful as it is if they are not protected!!

  2. Paul Winsor Reply

    Thought you may be interested in this article. https://tgam.ca/2sgNT7Y.

    Our [Canadian] Minister of Foreign Affairs, “Ms. Freeland expressed deep concern about the desire of many American voters to “shrug off the burden of world leadership.””

    Canada will now spend more on defense and work along with the rest of the west, internationally, to deal with Russia, ISIS, North Korea etc.

    Hmmm.

    Maybe many American voters would not have voted the way they did, if other countries, like mine, had held up our end of the bargain. Trump’s antics are working, scaring us to do what we should have been doing all along.

  3. John Calia Reply

    Generally, I’m in agreement. I take exception to your no. 7. We should hope that many government agencies, departments, and commissions vanish. Their very existence undermines our culture, our prosperity, and our fiscal stability. Every government program attracts interests which become entrenched. Lobbyists and corporations pour money into election campaigns of those who support them. Eliminate the laws and regulations and we don’t need lobbyists.

    • Jack Altschuler Reply

      Agreed – except . . .

      Cutting regulations with a meat axe instead of a scalpel results in things like mining tailings clogging and polluting streams in West Virginia (yes, that has already been okayed). The intent of deregulators I’ve heard sounds like we’re on our way back to the bad old days when Los Angeles air looked like air in Beijing today and the Great Lakes waters were gray-brown and lake sediment was laced with mercury. Let’s not be stupid about this – again.

      • John Calia Reply

        We’re in agreement on the intent and direction. However, I would point out that the agencies can’t be eliminated without Congress. And, each member of Congress is Chair of a committee or sub-committee (or wants to be). That’s how they exert influence and gain power. Each committee and sub-committee has an agency or agencies it regulates. So, Congress is loathe to rid us this plague. So, I don’t expect the President’s budget to survive. The more powerful in Congress will hang on to their vested interests. But, it’s better to make a bold thrust and hope to get something than to be timid and get little or nothing.