This week, Donald Trump became the second President to fire the Director of the FBI, relieving James Comey of his duties.
It is a result which a few months ago would likely have been a rare moment for bi-partisan celebration. Many conservatives, as well as progressives, believed Comey’s corruption was exposed in his handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton – most infamously when he publicly presented a 15-minute laundry list of Hillary’s transgressions, before opining that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” (Kind of a cryptic comment, if you are inclined to think that way.)
Meanwhile, establishment Democrats detested Comey for having spoken about the Hillary investigation days before the election (it’s part of their “look anywhere but in the mirror” policy).
Yet, despite months of widespread (if for differing reasons) agreement that “Comey must go,” President Trump has managed to ham-hand his way into another minefield. By firing Comey, who, as FBI Director, was overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign’s possible collusion with Russian spies, and reportedly doing so mere days after Comey asked for an increase in funds for the investigation, Trump has once again turned the act of governing into a fiasco.
Elsewhere this week, as if in some kind of a tragic comedy, it was revealed that the DAPL pipeline has already leaked oil – despite not being operational yet! After suppressing the incident for upwards of a month, officials from Energy Transfer Partners and pro-business government representatives insisted that the spill was nothing out of the ordinary.
By defending the severity of their accident, these mouthpieces made the point of anti-pipeline activists. No sh*t it was nothing out of the ordinary. That’s what oil pipelines do – they leak.
Predictably, oil spills and their relation to the Trump administration’s wildly pro-fossil fuel stance, are not part of the mainstream media narrative.
Instead, it is wall-to-wall coverage of the Trump/Comey debacle; with its intrigue and espionage, its lies and its villains, and, most importantly, the mainstream media’s favorite boogeyman – The Russians.
Considering the growing public distaste for “War on Terror” propaganda, it is perhaps no surprise that Cold War-era propaganda is once again in vogue. One only need think of how successful, and how profitable, “The Russians are coming!“ was for so many years to understand why the mainstream media seems so determined to reach into their “Greatest Hits” catalog.
You can imagine that oil companies would much rather public attention be diverted to hypothetical Russian spies, than to environmental degradation.
Don’t get me wrong, international interference in American elections would be a big deal; though perhaps more so if you were someone who believed in the purity of U.S. democracy. Worse would be an investigation which found the campaign of the current President of the United States to have colluded with international saboteurs.
There is some suggestion that Trump’s firing of Comey can be related historically to Richard Nixon’s firing of the special prosecutor who was investigating the Watergate burglary; a comparison which may prove more or less apt depending on how the story of Trump and his Russians turns out.
There is something disturbing, not to mention extremely jowly, in imagining Trump getting his Tricky Dick on.
But really, the firing of Comey is just the latest example of Trump tiptoeing around impeachment. Whether it’s Russian connections or something else, it seems possible that the Trump presidency may at some point meet an untimely demise. Should this happen, it is doubtful a President Pence would be any better for the groups which are most marginalized by Trump.
That is the alternative in leadership at this moment.
Further, if you go back to the genesis of Trump’s alleged ties to Russian spies, you find Hillary’s hacked emails. Regardless of the source of the leaks, the information revealed within showed Hillary to be a frighteningly duplicitous and corrupt politician.
That was the alternative in leadership six months ago.
Speaking of Hillary Clinton, while many are relating Trump’s firing of Comey to Nixon, the only President to actually fire his FBI Director previously was, in fact, Bill Clinton, who fired Reagan-era appointee William Sessions in 1993.
Then, as now, there was much speculation as to why Clinton had fired the Director. The President himself offering his typical clarity, stating, “lots of reasons.”
There are a not-insignificant number of people, some would call them “conspiracy theorists,” who would offer an opinion as to the reason. They would mention that a day after Sessions was fired, Vince Foster – Clinton family friend from Arkansas, confidante, a man who “knew where the bodies were buried,” as they say (perhaps literally, in this case, depending on how much of the story you believe) – died in unusual circumstances in what was eventually ruled a suicide. I say “unusual” because it was curious enough to have multiple investigations opened into it; including, as it turned out, by the FBI (headed by Bill Clinton’s new Director).
Are political murders any more absurd than Russian spies?
But the truth or fiction of so-called conspiracy theories is irrelevant for our purposes. What is relevant is that when Bill Clinton fired his FBI director, as is the case with Trump, there was enough of an implication of impropriety that some believed the President(s) to have acted with nefarious intent.
And that is my point.
Trump is corrupt, like Tricky Dick.
Hillary is corrupt, like her husband.
James Comey is corrupt (an opinion Democrats expressed right up to the moment Comey was fired and became their martyr).
Why does it seem that most of our “leaders,” those in positions of power, are corrupt?
For an answer – a story:
This is the story of a place called Mouseland. Mouseland was a place where all the little mice lived and played, were born and died. And they lived much the same as you and I do …
And every four years they had an election. Used to walk to the polls and cast their ballots. Some of them even got a ride to the polls. And got a ride for the next four years afterwards, too. Just like you and me. And every time on election day all the little mice used to go to the ballot box and they used to elect a government.
A government made up of big, fat, black cats.
Now I’m not saying anything against the cats. They passed good laws – that is, laws that were good for cats. But the laws that were good for cats weren’t very good for mice.
And life was getting harder and harder. And when the mice couldn’t put up with it any more, they decided that something had to be done.
So, they went en-masse to the polls. They voted the black cats out.
They put in white cats.
And when they couldn’t take that anymore, they voted the white cats out and black ones in again. Then they went back to white cats. Then to black cats. They even tried half black and half white cats. They even got one government made up of cats with spots on them: They were cats that tried to make a noise like a mouse but ate like a cat.
You see, my friends, the trouble wasn’t with the colour of the cat. The trouble was that they were cats.
–Excerpt from ‘Mouseland’
Tommy Douglas, 1944
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