Flynn Resignation Creates More Questions Than It Answers

National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s resignation on Monday over the ongoing controversy surrounding the Trump regime’s connection to the Russian government is a good sign some of our country’s major institutions—our spy agencies, the U.S Justice Department under former leadership, the media—are still holding up.

It’s a hopeful sign but still meager, and it’s only a beginning, and there’s still so much missing, mainly information about the authoritarian President Donald Trump’s personal, financial and campaign connections with the government of Russia. Because Trump has refused to release his tax records, for example, and with the ongoing complicity of his voter base and disinterested fellow Republican colleagues, we still don’t know the extent of his business dealings in Russia.

Just knowing specifically how much money Trump business concerns have and perhaps still are generating from Russian ties would, at the very least, open up more avenues for media scrutiny and perhaps force real official investigations.

Let’s back up. Flynn resigned Monday after it became clear that after the Nov. 8 election he discussed with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak the sanctions former President Barack Obama issued against Russia for meddling in our recent presidential election by hacking into Democratic Party email accounts and then revealing content that hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

As an aside, it’s important to note the mainstream media reported the content of these emails with breathless urgency, although they revealed little but what seemed like typical infighting in a political campaign. The mainstream media frame, however, made them seem like a huge deal. Meanwhile, the real story—the Russian hacks and the Trump campaign’s apparent ties to Russia—wasn’t pursued with the same breathless urgency before and after the election until now. That is and remains the real story because it deals with how an authoritarian government and longtime adversary of the U.S. meddled in our election to get a particular candidate elected president. The story has grown by immense proportions in the media now that Trump is president, but it has been around for the telling for a while now.

Flynn initially told the press he didn’t discuss the sanctions with the ambassador to perhaps tell him they would be mitigated under a Trump administration, which, if true, might have even been against the law, according to some speculation, but then he backed away from that initial claim and indicated it might have been possible he actually did discuss the sanctions. It also became apparent he at least told Vice President Mike Pence in the Trump administration that he hadn’t discussed the sanctions. Pence had defended Flynn, repeating his lie.

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Two Oklahoma Senate bills introduced this legislative session, if passed and signed into law, could weaken the ability of schools to clearly teach basic scientific concepts.

Senate Bill 393, introduced by state Sen. Josh Brecheen, a Republican from Coalgate, would require public school administrators to help teachers “present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies” and would allow teachers to “critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”

This is common coded language by religious extremists and activists to allow creationism or religious precepts about the origin of life to counter the theory of evolution in public classrooms and force teachers to present unclear information about climate change. The language might seem innocuous but its vagueness is the danger.

There is no scientific controversy about the validity of the theory of evolution or climate change. There is controversy among religious extremists over the theory of evolution and a controversial propaganda campaign by the fossil fuel industry to deny the impact of manmade global warming, but it has nothing to do with real science or what students should be taught.

A vast majority of credible scientists believe and have shown proof through the scientific method that planetary life evolved and carbon emissions have accelerated global warming not he planet. Again, there is no scientific controversy despite the media attention given to the views of right-wing religious figures and politicians, such as Oklahoma’s U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe.

The bill contains a disclaimer that it isn’t about promoting “religious or non-religious” doctrine” but it could very well be instrumental in forcing teachers to discuss untruthful information promoted by religious zealots under the pseudo-science called intelligent design and oil and gas companies, which are concerned with their profits.

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Not Even Close To Normal

I realize I’m repeating myself in some ways in this post, but I think it’s worth it in the long-term if we remind ourselves that progressives need to speak within a unifying narrative.

These are not normal times in our country. The authoritarian President Donald Trump expresses clear signs of untreated mental illness, including narcissism, and he is a pathological liar. As Hillary Clinton correctly pointed out a while back, “ . . . he is temperamentally unfit to be president and commander-in-chief.”

Can and should progressives unite to define their protest against Trump and his Republican supporters under the broader framework in the above paragraph? Right now various factions opposed to Trump continue to fragment the message with pleas for money or signatures on petitions for their own special causes or concerns. The progressive response to the new president and his actions has been almost as myriad and erratic as Trump’s tweets. The daily grind of the news cycle makes progressives lose focus as we righteously but maybe not so strategically jump from one outrage to the next.

I believe we’re very much losing the information war. What’s making it through the clutter are the senseless tweets of a person, who is mentally ill. Do you hear about what Trump tweeted today? The world awaits in breathless anticipation to that refrain. I believe Trump has us where he wants us right now. He has a captive audience.

Meanwhile, there are important developments surrounding the Trump administration that truly matter that get lost or forgotten in the daily clutter. We still don’t know enough about the investigation into how the government of Russia most likely influenced our presidential election to get Trump elected in the first place. Note this recent post in Mother Jones, which was followed by this report in The Washington Post.

No one has the one right answer to Trump. What I know is that I’ve been writing liberal political commentary for a long time, and I’m on a lot of email lists. I’ve been bombarded by progressive organizations and progressive media outlets asking me for money or to sign petitions. But how much money should we donate and how many petitions opposing each of Trump’s nominees and appointments do we need to sign until we suddenly figure out that each one is going to be confirmed despite our efforts?

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