"They are deliberately destroying democracy in favor of oligarchy."

tags: Trump, Oligarchy

On Friday, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, appointed to the Department of Justice by Donald Trump, announced that a grand jury had returned an indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers for interfering in the 2016 US election. A grand jury is comprised of regular Americans, and it only indicts when a supermajority believes that the evidence proves a case. So Rosenstein was telling the nation, and the Republican Party, and the president, that the Department of Justice has evidence, admissible in court, that will prove beyond a reasonable doubt that, under Vladmir Putin, the Russian military hacked the 2016 election in favor of Trump. This is an attack on our sovereignty as real as any bombing campaign. Indeed, one of the aliases the Russians used was "Ward DeClaur," which sounds an awful lot like "War Declared." 

Today, Trump stood in front of cameras and sided with Putin.

The American president sided with an enemy power over our own government. This has never happened before; indeed, our system was deliberately set up to make sure it could not happen. But it has. 

Also today, a Russian national, Maria Butina, was charged in federal court with acting as a foreign agent, forging ties to the Republican Party through the NRA. Butina had testified voluntarily before the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into Russian interference in the election, which produced a bipartisan report unanimously agreeing that Russia interfered with the 2016 election, but GOP House investigators refused Democrats' requests to call Butina to testify. We know that the NRA gave $30 million to Trump's campaign, and that a great deal of that money was Russian. We also know that the NRA heavily supported GOP candidates, and that, apparently, some of them were talking with Russian agents. It is not a stretch to believe that Russian money influenced the election down the ticket as well as at the top. It seems we are approaching an explanation of why GOP leaders have been so defensive about the Russia investigation, and so weirdly quiet as Trump has run roughshod over the nation.

We are at the moment when we must face that the president and the leaders of the Republican Party are tools of a foreign power. 

To what end are they acting?

They are deliberately destroying democracy in favor of oligarchy. This is why their interests align with those of the oligarchical Russia, rather than with us, and why Trump is trying to destroy our alliances with other democratic nations. 

Since WWII, America has tried to curb the abuses of capitalism while still preserving that system. The government regulated businesses to keep them from brutalizing workers, cheating consumers, and polluting the air and water. It provided a basic social safety net for the elderly and the needy. And it provided infrastructure-- roads, bridges, schools and hospitals-- to make sure everyone had equal access to opportunity. Above all, it demanded equality before the law. Since 1933, this government represented what the American people wanted.

Trump and the GOP have deliberately worked to destroy this system (most recently by rewriting the numbers so they can declare that we have no need for a social safety net because there are so few Americans living in poverty). They believe that government interference in the accumulation of wealth hampers the ability of rich men to advance the economy, and therefore society. They must not be held to the laws; they must be permitted to do what they think is best. This was the same ideology as that held by the Robber Barons at the end of the nineteenth century and the leaders from the 1920s: to make the country great, you had to give businessmen free rein to act in their best interest. Now that ideology is international. If only Trump can smash our alliances with other democracies-- as he is working so hard to do-- he can help Russia launch an oligarchy that can rule the world.

If we permit this to happen, we will all be expendable, depending on whether or not we are useful to our rulers. You can bet your life on it. Literally.

In the 1890s and the 1920s, Americans took back their democracy. Today, we are at an even more dramatic crisis, with a president who is siding with a foreign enemy and a ruling political party that is compliant, at best. This is the moment when we must call out treason, and speak up to defend democracy, our birthright, from enemy oligarchs, both abroad and- heartbreakingly- at home.

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