All the makings of a banana republic

All the makings of a banana republic

by digby

From the editor of Foreign Affairs:
We have the tin-pot leader whose vanity knows no bounds. We have the rapacious family feathering their nests without regard for the law or common decency. We have utter disregard for values at home and abroad, the disdain for democracy, the hunger for constraining a free press, the admiration for thugs and strongmen worldwide.

We have all the makings of a banana republic. But worse, we are showing the telltale signs of a failing state. Our government has ceased to function. Party politics and gross self-interest has rendered the majority party oblivious to its responsibilities to its constituents and the Constitution of the United States. On a daily basis, Republicans watch their leader violate not only the traditions and standards of the high office he occupies, but through inaction they enable him to personally profit from the presidency, promote policies that benefit his cronies and his class to the detriment of the majority of the American people, and serially attack the principles on which the country was founded — from freedom of religion to the separation of powers.

Recent events have taken this grim situation and turned it dire. We now know that Donald Trump chose a man as his top national security advisor whom the prior president had both fired and warned him against hiring. We know that Trump’s White House failed to vet this man who would be entrusted with some of America’s most sensitive secrets and decisions. We know they did not get him the security clearances his position required, yet allowed him to operate freely in that position. We know that this man, Gen. Michael Flynn, took significant cash payments from an enemy, Russia, and from a nominal ally with which we have precarious relations, Turkey. We know Flynn failed to disclose those payments in violation of the law.

Indeed, we know that the only thing likely to keep Flynn from serving time for felonies is if he strikes a bargain with the prosecutors who are now investigating his behavior. As a consequence of revelations associated with those investigations, we know that Flynn, had on-going contact with Russians officials during the campaign and, after he was named national security advisor, had conversations with the Russian ambassador about which he lied to the American people and, ostensibly, to the vice president of the United States. We know these conversations were likely illegal as well.

There's more. It gets worse concluding with this:

America looks like a country it has never been. Trump is a laughingstock in the best of circumstances, a disgrace based on his known behavior to date, and a threat to global order and security with each action he takes. He discredits the office he holds and the government he leads.He discredits the office he holds and the government he leads.

But for every depredation or attack on our system by Trump and his team, for every act of complicity by the invertebrates who lead the GOP on Capitol Hill, there has been some portion of the U.S. government and system to counterbalance it. Judges have stayed bad executive orders. The FBI has investigated — personal career consequences for the investigators be damned.

The brazen firing of Comey is an escalation. If Trump is allowed to get away with this and appoint a lackey as chief investigator into his team’s alleged wrong-doing, the world will see the United States as a failing state, one that is turning its back on the core ideas on which it was founded — that no individual is above the law and that those in the government, at every level including the president, work for the people. Only if an independent prosecutor is appointed will America be seen as being the nation of laws it has long represented itself to be. Only if a thorough investigation takes place that includes an examination of Trump family ties in Russia (and elsewhere) and how these may have compromised the United States will the message be sent that America is the nation that has for so long been seen as an example to the world.

It will require a bipartisan commitment to truth and justice. Ultimately, and the sooner the better, it will require our system and people to reject Trump and those surrounding him — who have already done so much to disgrace the offices they hold undermine America’s standing in the world.

There's little sign of that yet unfortunately...